Children's heart surgery - Edwin Poots announces review

10/12/2013

Today Health Minister, Edwin Poots announced that a team of three international clinicians will carry out an independent assessment of the current and future needs for Paediatric Congenital Cardiac and Interventional Cardiac services (PCCS) for the population of Ireland.

The assessment team will describe the existing hospital services in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland and outline options for service configuration and governance arrangements. They will report their findings to both Minister Poots and his Republic of Ireland counterpart Minister James Reilly TD, recommending the most appropriate model that meets the population health needs and other requirements of both jurisdictions.

The assessment is due to start in January 2014 and be completed in six months. When the Ministers receive this independent assessment, decisions can then be made on the optimal service provision which it is intended will be implemented for these services as soon as possible.

In the interim, pending the completion of the assessment in June 2014, health service management and clinicians in the Republic of Ireland will continue to work with their colleagues in The Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children to provide and develop support to the services in Northern Ireland.

Minister Poots said “I believe that the assessment by this external team of experts will bring international best practice and fresh thinking to bear on this challenging issue. I am pleased that they have accepted this assignment and look forward to receiving their advice. I want to thank health service management and clinicians in the Republic of Ireland for engaging with their colleagues in Belfast to provide and develop support to the services in Northern Ireland. My key priority throughout this process has been, and remains, to ensure the delivery of a safe and sustainable service for these vulnerable children”.

Health Minister's full statement to NI Assembly