AGHAGALLON woman Mary Gowdy has praised 87 MLAs who have pledge to vote against child heart surgery being removed from Belfast’s Royal Victoria Hospital.
Mrs Gowdy, whose son Nathan was rushed from Craigavon Hospital after birth to the RVH for emergency surgery, said: “We must realise the high risks travelling with these very sick babies.”
There has been a campaign to retain the service in Belfast after health chiefs recommended moving the service to Dublin.
Health Minister Edwin Poots has been under pressure to back the campaign.
Mrs Gowdy said: “Medical experts Mr Poots and Dr Reilly have all now expressed the wish that an all-island network for the future paediatric heart surgery is introduced. Let us hope health officials north and south do not become barriers to this happening,” said Mary, who son Nathan attends St Mary’s Primary School, Derrymore.
SDLP Upper Bann MLA Dolores Kelly has also signed the petition in support of the campaign to retain children’s cardiac services in Belfast has commended the work of the parents and volunteers of the Heartbeat trust.
Speaking during the recent Assembly debate the SDLP supported an all-island two-centre approach to the provision of services of being the preferred solution.
Said Ms Kelly: “Belfast must be retained not only for emergency care but also for the 70 -plus families who have to attend the RVH for intervention procedures.
“Simply transferring the facility to Dublin is not the solution. The Health Minister must ensure that provision of paediatric cardiac surgery remains available in Belfast to provide for the hundreds of children in Northern Ireland and the border counties who depend on the service.”