Swann calls for new NI Children’s Heart Centre

North Antrim UUP MLA Robin Swann with Dr Frank Casey, Children's Cardiologist at the RVH, and Tracey Wall, Divisional Nurse Manager at Our Lady's Hospital in Dublin. �Brian Thompson Photography
North Antrim UUP MLA Robin Swann with Dr Frank Casey, Children's Cardiologist at the RVH, and Tracey Wall, Divisional Nurse Manager at Our Lady's Hospital in Dublin. �Brian Thompson Photography

Local UUP MLA Robin Swann has welcomed cross-party support for his call for a new Children’s heart centre for the Province.

Mr Swann, who is Chair of Stormont’s All Party Group on Congenital Heart Disease, received the backing when he recently hosted an event in Stormont to show what the new centre would look like and raise awareness about congenital heart disease and the impact it has on children young people and their families.

He said: “Congenital heart defects is the most common birth defect in northern Ireland, with over 200 babies born each year with a heart defect, many of whom will need intervention and open heart surgery.

“Earlier this year, the decision was taken to develop an all island congenital cardiac partnership with Our Lady’s Hospital in Dublin.

“What is key is the development of that partnership and to that extent it is critical to ensure that we retain and enhance the high level of cardiology support our children currently enjoy in Belfast and that we are attractive for staff at all levels to want to stay with or come and work in the Belfast unit.

“The only way to achieve this is to properly invest and develop Belfast as a Children’s Heart Centre. Heart families across Northern Ireland have been repeatedly promised an improved service and now this commitment needs to be delivered,” said Assemblyman Swann.