Belfast Telegraph

Children's heart services reviewed

Children's heart services in Belfast are to be reviewed.

Three youngsters are believed to have died from operations between 2007 and 2010, which is considered high.

Northern Ireland's Health and Social Care Board (HSCB) has commissioned an independent expert panel to carry out an external review of children's heart services at the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust.

Congenital cardiac disease is a rare condition, particularly among children.

However, a UK database showed higher than expected mortality among children for a disorder known as Tetralogy of Fallot, a serious heart abnormality.

The review, chaired by Professor Sir Ian Kennedy, will include doctors with a background in the care of children with complex heart conditions.

The panel will visit the centre and meet clinicians, families and parent group representatives during the rest of this month. They will compile a report for the board by the end of May.

A spokesman for the board said: "The aim of the review is to ensure that children with serious heart conditions continue to receive high-quality, safe and sustainable care."

The review will consider the current services provided in Belfast, taking account of national quality standards, which have been endorsed by professional associations in the UK.

A separate review of the surgical outcomes within this speciality area is being taken forward by the Belfast Trust.

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