25th September, 2012
Consultation begins on future of children’s cardiac care
A consultation process starts today to consider the future service
model for children in Northern Ireland who require heart surgery
and other specialist interventional aspects of cardiac care. The
consultation, which will be extensive in nature, will run until
December of this year.
This consultation follows publication of a report of a review of
Paediatric Congenital Cardiac Services in Northern Ireland. The
review did not identify any immediate safety concerns with the
current arrangements for paediatric cardiac surgery but concluded
that the surgical element of the service was not sustainable. The
review recommended that the potential safety risks be addressed
within a period of six months.
At the request of the Department of Health, Social Services and
Public Safety (DHSSPS), the HSC Board in partnership with the
Public Health Agency, established a Working Group in August
2012. This Group was tasked with developing a document to
include the following areas for formal public consultation:
Service specification for commissioning Paediatric Cardiac
Surgery and Interventional Cardiology for children from
Clear criteria against which the service model options should
be assessed; and
Potential service model options.
The consultation document has been prepared by the Working
Group and subsequently approved by the Minister for Health,
Social Services and Public Safety.
The membership of the Working Group includes representatives
from the HSC Board, Public Health Agency, Belfast Trust,
Northern Ireland Ambulance Service, Western Trust, Patient and
Client Council, parents and parent groups.
The document, Consultation on the future delivery of Paediatric
Cardiac Surgery and Interventional Cardiology for the population of
Northern Ireland, can be obtained from the Board’s website
HSC Board Director of Commissioning and Chair of the Working
Group, Mr Dean Sullivan, commended members of the Working
Group for their efforts in producing the consultation document.
Mr Sullivan said: “The insight and expert knowledge provided by
everyone on the Working Group was invaluable in producing a
balanced and comprehensive consultation document. The shared
objective of everyone involved is to secure future arrangements
that provide a high quality, safe, sustainable, accessible and timely
service for children from Northern Ireland. It is very important that
everyone with an interest in these vital services considers what we
have presented and makes known their views during the course of
A 12-week period of consultation will take place from Wednesday,
26 September 2012 ending on Friday, 21 December 2012.
A series of public meetings will be held over the next three months
at venues across Northern Ireland to provide further information on
the proposals and encourage input into the consultation process.
Details will be published in the press and on the Board’s website.
Following the end of the consultation period, the Working Group
will develop a post-consultation document, incorporating an
analysis of responses and recommendations on the future delivery
of services for the population of Northern Ireland. The Minister will
consider this document before making a decision on the future
model for provision of paediatric cardiac surgery and interventional
cardiology for the population of Northern Ireland in early 2013.