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Answers needed over flawed consultation process

I AM the grandfather of a 13-year-old child, who was born with a serious heart defect and whose life was saved by the surgical team at the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children.

Over the past 18 months, our family joined with hundreds of other families of heart children in a campaign to retain children's cardiac surgery at the Royal.

The threat to this service was based on the flawed 'Safe and Sustainable' consultation process, which had been applied to hospitals in England and Wales and which itself was found to be unsafe and unsustainable.

The announcement by the Health Minister that he plans to retain a service at the Royal site as part of an all-island approach to children's cardiac surgery has been welcomed by the families. This decision is a complete U-turn for Government and a vindication of the families's position.

Now that a process to implement an all-island service has begun, it is time for our elected representatives to demand a public inquiry into the mismanagement of this entire process over the past three years, leading to a reduction of the service in Belfast and causing great worry and stress to the families (and, indeed, to hospital staff).

Those people who were responsible for the management of the service and of the flawed consultation have failed the heart children, the families, the medical staff and the general public and must now be called to account.

WILLIAM WHITE

Londonderry

Belfast Telegraph

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