Mum’s anger at kids’ heart surgery proposals

Marie Buckley pictured with her son Eoin Taylor. (2604PG50)
Marie Buckley pictured with her son Eoin Taylor. (2604PG50)

The mother of a Derry schoolboy with a congenital heart condition says she’s “gutted” at plans to scrap a service which, she says, saved her son’s life.

The Health and Social Care Board has recommended moving children’s heart surgery to Dublin, with no surgery to be provided in Belfast.

A consultation was launched after the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children was deemed unsustainable due to the numbers of patients it deals with - around 90 per year.

In a statement, the Department of Health confirmed that a working group’s preferred option was for surgery and interventional cardiology to be carried out in Dublin and new investment in cardiology facilities, including MRI, in Belfast.

Marie Buckley, whose son Eoin (16) has been receiving surgery and treatment in Belfast since he was born, said the recommendation was a “travesty”.

Eoin, revealed Marie, was born with his heart on the wrong side of his body and has undergone a number of operation and requires further surgery.

“The service in Belfast saved Eoin’s life,” she told the ‘Journal’. “If it wasn’t for them, he wouldn’t be here today. I think it is totally ridiculous that a successful and safe service should be scrapped simply because it’s deemed unsustainable. Is this about saving lives or saving money?”

Travelling to Dublin, says Marie, will have a detrimental impact on many families.