Fermanagh urged to speak out on Children's Heart Services

Published: 18 Dec 2012 08:45

FERMANAGH has less than a week to make its voice heard on the future of children's heart surgery in Northern Ireland.

Share this image

That is the message from the Children's Heartbeat Trust, the organisation campaigning to retain the vital services in Belfast.

Families in the County who know all too well how important the services currently provided at the Royal Victoria Hospital are have been urging people to feed into the current consultation which comes to an end this Friday, December 21.

Five public meetings were held across Northern Ireland as part of the consultation, the first of which took place in Enniskillen,

In addition, there have been a number of focus groups.

At the local event Bellanaleck mother, Jennifer Keys described how her 21-month-old Alfie has undergone four operations in his short life, all of which have taken place in Birmingham.

"As a parent I understand what it is like to have to leave your family and friends here to take your child across the water for surgery," she told the consultation panel, "It is an incredibly difficult situation for any family to be faced with.

"I would take him to the moon if I thought he would get the best care there. But the only person I completely trust with Alfie's life is his doctor in Belfast. He knows him like the back of his own hand. You just don't get that personal level of care over in England. The ward over there is like a cattle market and because nurses are under-staffed, they don't have the time to help you, you are really on your own."

Sarah Quinlan, Children's Heartbeat Trust Executive Officer urged people from Enniskillen to make sure they fed into the consultation before Friday's deadline.

"Since this issue arose parents and children have fought an uphill battle to ensure that the safety of children is prioritised in any future provision of heart surgery in Northern Ireland. In England, the Health Secretary has launched a full review of similar recommendations made by officials there which would see three units close. Here, while the Stormont Health Committee called for this review process to be suspended, it will run to completion and for that reason everyone must ensure that their views are heard.

"It is vital that people understand there is a very real possibility that heart surgery in Belfast for babies and young children could be closed. The risk to life for children born here who require emergency surgery is unthinkable as well as the emotional and financial stress which families would suffer if forced to travel to England for elective operations.

"There is evidence from other parts of the UK, that when paediatric cardiac surgery is stopped, the units find it difficult to retain and attract cardiologists and specialists and there is also a subsequent risk of deskilling our paediatric anaesthetists and intensive care staff. Let me be clear - this approach to specialist services for children in Northern Ireland would leave other low volume paediatric specialties such as neurology or renal surgery vulnerable too. We risk downgrading our amazing regional children's hospital to a general hospital," she added.

The consultation document and response form can be accessed on the Board's website at www.hscboard.hscni.net/consult/PCCS_Consultation  

 Responses should be returned by email to PCCSConsultation@hscni.net or in written form to:- Paediatric Congenital Cardiac Services Consultation, Health and Social Care Board, 12-22 Linenhall St, Belfast, BT2 8BS.

Jump to first paragraph.

Get more stories from our Roundup section

20 Apr 2014 19:00

'We want to do it for the supporters' - Davy Black

Clogher Valley coach David Black has vowed to make up for their All Ireland Junior Cup Final defeat by winning the Ulster Towns’ Cup for their supporters when they take on Donaghadee at Ravenhill on Easter Monday.


20 Apr 2014 15:00 • Julie Kenwell

Family ‘sick of thought’ of third round of heart surgery for Alfie

THE family of Bellanaleck toddler, Alfie Keys are nervously looking ahead to this September.

Social: Comments0 comments

20 Apr 2014 13:00 • Editorial Department

Trust identifies ‘extreme risks’ that could kill patients

Extreme risks have been identified by the Western Trust which could “compromise client safety” or even lead to “injury or death of patients or staff”.

Social: Comments0 comments

20 Apr 2014 09:00 • Editorial Department

‘End of an era’ for Leslie and McCrea family

Tempo Primary’s long serving caretaker - whose family has a long connection with the Fermanagh school - was paid a warm tribute at the start of the school’s Easter Holidays.

Social: Comments0 comments

19 Apr 2014 21:00 • Brian Donaldson

First election nominations made at Townhall

The countdown to the first election for seats on the new Fermanagh and Omagh District Council on May 22 has begun with the first candidates nominating at Enniskillen Townhall this week.

Social: Comments0 comments

19 Apr 2014 17:10

Mallards gain another crucial point in safety battle

Ballinamallard took another step closer to safety as they claimed a share of the spoils at home to Ballymena today.


19 Apr 2014 15:00 • Meadhbh Monahan

Leading anti-fracker believes local protesters are on the right track

Founder of Frack Free Sussex and Britain and Ireland Frack Free, Vanessa Vine visited Enniskillen last Saturday to discuss the local anti-fracking campaign.

Social: Comments0 comments

19 Apr 2014 13:00 • Editorial Department

Road rage car chase for boxing champ who turned away from possible fight

A boxing champion shied away from a fight with a man over twice his age only to become embroiled in a road rage incident.


19 Apr 2014 11:00 • Editorial Department

Milk suppliers assured that Society is debt free

The forty-eight former Fivemiletown milk suppliers have been assured that Fivemiletown and Brookeborough Co-operative and Agricultural Dairy Society (the Society) is debt free and that they will “continue to be paid”.

Social: Comments0 comments

19 Apr 2014 09:00 • Rodney Edwards

Elliott votes against bill on powers for new Super Councils

ULSTER Unionist MLA Tom Elliott has joined his party colleagues in voting against the Local Government Bill, the legislation that sets out the powers of the new Super Councils. Mr. Elliott spoke of his concern around community planning ahead of the amalgamation which will see 26 Councils merge into 11, including the amalgamation of Fermanagh District Council and Omagh District Council


19 Apr 2014 08:30

Police name motorcyclist killed in Fivemiletown crash

Police can confirm that a male motorcyclist has died following a two vehicle road traffic collision on the Belfast Road in Fivemiletown last night, Friday 18 April.


18 Apr 2014 22:00 • Rodney Edwards

Orange audit: 93 per cent believe Catholics ‘suspicious’ of order

A MAJOR survey into the Orange Order in Fermanagh has found that 92.8 per cent of people who took part in the project believe Catholics are “suspicious” of the organisation.

Social: Comments0 comments

18 Apr 2014 19:00

'We have a big eight days ahead of us' - Anderson

By 5pm on Saturday April 26 all the decisions will be made in the Danske Bank Premiership and Championship One. The destination of the title will be decided and who is going down or which teams are facing a play off will be known.


18 Apr 2014 17:00 • Rodney Edwards

Enterprise Minister disagrees with keeping Aventas Group all locally owned

ENTERPRISE Minister Arlene Foster says she cannot support the view of local political representatives, including her DUP colleague Maurice Morrow, that the Aventas Group in Derrylin must remain exclusively locally owned.

Social: Comments0 comments

18 Apr 2014 15:00 • Editorial Department

Tweets of the Week - did you make it?

Charlie Lawson @charlie_lawson1 I’m reliably informed that my alter ego and constant companion is to return, so he is. Must contact The Home Secretary to confirm.

Social: Comments0 comments

18 Apr 2014 13:00 • Editorial Department

Foster vows to take school merger to the Assembly

“I am not powerless, I will fight this,” declares Stormont Minister Arlene Foster as she reflects on the fall-out over the proposal by the Western Education and Library Board to amalgamate Portora Royal School with Collegiate Grammar School.

Social: Comments0 comments

18 Apr 2014 11:00 • Lily Dane

Those were the days: Miss Derryclavin Selected

This image “Miss Derryclavin” Selected was featured in The Impartial Reporter on April 16, 1964.

Social: Comments0 comments

18 Apr 2014 08:30

Depression is an illness, mourners told at Kenny Andrews funeral

MOURNERS at the funeral of Brookeborough man Kenneth Andrews who died unexpectedly last week were told that the 47-year-old had been fighting a private battle with depression.


17 Apr 2014 19:00 • Rodney Edwards

#fermanaghspake This Week is...

‘I’m not half well’

Social: Comments0 comments

17 Apr 2014 18:06 • Rodney Edwards

Would-be Unionist politician admits Catholic Facebook question was 'badly worded'

A would-be politician seeking a seat in the new Fermanagh and Omagh Council for the Ulster Unionist Party has defended himself for a second time following comments he made on Facebook.