AS political and community support gathers to ensure critical children’s cardiac services remain in Northern Ireland, South Down MP has challenged Health Minister Poots, saying, “Following a meeting last week which was attended by parents of children who have benefited from Paediatric Cardiac services at the Clark Clinic in Belfast, it is important that such services are retained in the interests of the wider community.
“Some months ago, the Minister for Health initiated a review of such services. A consultation period is on-going. Some three weeks ago, and again this week, I have demanded that the Minister for Health retain such services for the benefit of children throughout Northern Ireland with cardiac problems.
“I believe much can be gained through clinical technologies for the provision of such services on an all island basis. The health of our children must be safeguarded and should be paramount when policy and funding decisions have to be made and prioritised.
“I hope that the Minister for Health will be able to listen to the views of the wider community who are looking for the retention of such services, and see fit to enable paediatric cardiac services to remain and continue to be provided in Belfast.
“Parents and children should not be forced to have to travel to Birmingham for life-saving surgery and medical attention. The principle of local accessibility at the point of delivery should be honoured and adhered to,” added Ms Ritchie.