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Alliance East Antrim MLA, Stewart Dickson, has pledged his support to the Children’s Heartbeat Trust campaign to retain paediatric cardiac surgery in Belfast.
Mr Dickson said that for his party, the health and welfare of children is of paramount importance. He also said that the health and wellbeing of children, parents and families must be safeguarded and protected:
“A few weeks ago I signed a petition with 80 other MLAs to retain children’s heart surgery services in Belfast.
“However, since then the Health and Social Care Board has recommended that these services should be moved from Belfast to Dublin.
“There are, of course, questions about the sustainability of the current service model in Belfast. However, if it not possible to maintain a fit-for-purpose service in Belfast alone, then my strong expectation is that the Health Minister fully explores the possibility of delivering services between both Belfast and Dublin.
“This would need to be a genuine partnership, with appropriate aspects of the service based in Belfast.
“The Health Minister should ensure that this delivers a service that is as good, or even better than, that currently on offer in England.
“It was a pleasure to meet Allan and his son Jay. I understand that this is a very distressing and uncertain time for parents and families. That is why a solution needs to be found as soon as possible.
“I pay tribute to all those involved in the Children’s Heartbeat Trust campaign to save these services.
“My party and I will continue to give them support and will play an active role in seeking to ensure the best possible paediatric cardiac surgery provision for children in Northern Ireland.”