All-Island Congenital Heart Disease Network Conference takes place in Titanic Belfast
420 children and young people from Northern Ireland have received treatment in Crumlin since 2015 under this new and innovative model of care
Over 60% of all children in Northern Ireland who require a cardiac procedure have their treatment on the island
The 2019 All-Island Congenital Heart Disease Network Conference, which is being attended by more than 250 delegates, takes place in Titanic Belfast on Friday 8th and Saturday 9th Nov.
The All Island Congenital Heart Disease (CHD) Network is a unique health initiative delivering better outcomes for children across the island of Ireland – that will be the message this weekend as clinicians and families of children with heart disease gather in Belfast to hear from global experts in paediatric cardiac care.
The Network’s fourth annual conference will bring heart families from all parts of Ireland together with clinical and nursing teams from both jurisdictions and beyond to exchange their experiences and learn about the latest international developments in clinical practice from world leaders.
Speaking ahead of the event, Dr Len O’Hagan, Chair of the CHD Network Board, said: “We are delighted to host the 2019 All Island Congenital Heart Disease Network conference in Titanic Belfast. The partnership approach between the Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland clinical and management teams, and the involvement of patient representatives, is essential to the success of the Network. Today’s event provides an opportunity for further shared learning which ensures that global enhancements in care provision for children and young people with heart disease are advanced across the entire service. The fact that we have some of the leading names in paediatric cardiac care from across the globe addressing the conference highlights the Network’s ambition to join the ranks of the world’s best children’s heart care providers.”
Keynote speakers on both days will be the internationally-recognised paediatric cardiologist, Dr. Dan Penny, from Texas Children’s Hospital, and Dr Nico Blom, paediatric cardiologist, Leiden Univeristy Medical Centre. Day Two will focus on families and the practical care for children with heart defects.
A number of important Network developments were also marked by delegates at the Conference today, including:
- The official opening of the new Children’s Heart Centre, Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children, Belfast, on the 14th June 2019, by Rory Best OBE.
- The Network will be recruiting two Professors of Paediatric Cardiology, one North and one South of the border, with the aim of advertising both posts before year end.
- The first of five planned Paediatricians with a special interest in Cardiology has commenced in Cork University Hospital, with other posts to commence in Craigavon, Galway, Derry and Limerick in 2020 / 2021 – ensuring all children will be treated as close to home as is clinically appropriate.
Chairman of the All-Island Congenital Heart Disease All Island Network, Dr Len O’Hagan said; “It’s emotionally, psychologically, physically and financially draining for a family from Northern Ireland to have to travel to Great Britain for cardiac treatment and the aim of the Network is that this will no longer be necessary*. Not only have we made significant progress in the last 4 years, but in the past year we have seen an 83% increase in the number of children from Northern Ireland having surgery in CHI at Crumlin and an increase of 23% in cardiac catheterisations. We have now reached a stage where over 60% of all children in Northern Ireland who require a cardiac procedure have this carried out on the island. I would like to acknowledge the ongoing dedication and commitment of the Network team, in particular to the surgical, intensive care and interventional cardiology team based in CHI at Crumlin.
“The network consists of hundreds of people, from surgeons to family members who have proved that the love of their children surpassed politics and borders. They are role models for all citizens, north and south, working together to deliver what really matters on our small island,” he said.
Professor Frank Casey, Paediatric Cardiologist at Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children and clinical lead in Northern Ireland, said, “We are committed to working with colleagues across the island of Ireland to continue to improve clinical care and outcomes for patients north and south. Our collective, whole effort is greater than the sum of its parts,” he said.
The CHD Network is the first integrated clinical network to operate on an island-wide basis, built upon the commitment of respective governments and close collaboration between healthcare professionals, managers and patient representatives, working together to develop “a world-class patient and family-centric CHD service for the island of Ireland”.
The All-Island Congenital Heart Disease All Island Network was established in March 2015, and is the first clinical network of its kind, providing an all-island service surpassing politics and borders*. The Network manages an all-island service delivery model for congenital heart disease in children, building on existing services and drawing them together in a network of care which is patient focused and locally responsive.
Now, all emergency and urgent paediatric cardiac surgery for children and young people on the island of Ireland takes place in Children’s Health Ireland (CHI) at Crumlin. Since the beginning of this year, 53 children from Northern Ireland requiring paediatric cardiac surgery, who otherwise would have been transferred to Great Britain, were treated at CHI at Crumlin.
**Children who require transplant will still need to travel to GB – There are no Paediatric transplant services in NI / ROI.