Public meeting will fight to retain children's heart surgery

Published: 25 Sep 2012 11:30

FERMANAGH families with children suffering from heart conditions will tonight push their fight forward for the retention of services in Belfast.

Jennifer Keys with her son, Alfie

A public meeting on behalf of the Children's Heartbeat Trust will be held at 8pm in the Lakeland Forum.

The people of Fermanagh have been asked to turn out in force to show support for the life-saving services in the Royal Victoria Hospital.

The future of Children's Heart Surgery in Northern Ireland has been brought into question following a recent report.

It found that while the services here were safe, they were not sustainable.

If the services were closed, over 140 families across the province would have to travel to another centre in the UK to receive surgery and treatment.

And the possibility that this could happen has sparked outrage, no less among affected families in Fermanagh.

Bellanaleck mum, Jennifer Keys, whose 19-month-old son, Alfie has had to undergo two bouts of open heart surgery in his short life so far, has encouraged a large attendance at the meeting.

"This is an awful time for people who are worried about their child and what is going to happen to this service," said Jennifer, "The review says that while the service is safe, it is just not sustainable. But how can you put a price on saving a child's life?

"It's okay to make these kind of decisions until it's your child who is sick. It's only then that you realise you want the best treatment at hand -- and that's what people have in the service in Belfast.

"To lose that from your doorstep would be just devastating," she added.

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