A petition to stop the closure of the pediatric heart surgery department at UMC Groningen has been signed 116,000 times.
Minister of Health Hugo de Jonge wanted to concentrate cardiac surgery and cardiac catheterization in children and very complex procedures in adults with congenital heart defects in the future at the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam and the UMC Utrecht/Wilhelmina Children’s Hospital (WKZ). The Center for Congenital Defects Amsterdam/Leiden (CAHAL) and the UMCG will no longer provide this care.
PvdA MP Henk Nijboer told RTV Noord that it is “crazy that the minister wants to close the pediatric heart surgery department and concentrate everything on the Randstad”.
“What does that mean for the future of children throughout the Northern Netherlands?” Nijboer wondered.
Pediatric IC nurses of the UMCG are starting the petition ‘Let the UMCG remain a heart center for children’. The nurses warn that this care is disappearing in the north of the country. “The choice is incomprehensible and there is no concrete and complete substantiation on which this decision is based.” They hope the decision will be reconsidered. “The expertise that has been built up over 75 years has been wiped out in one go.”
A petition to keep the CAHAL open has also been launched, published on Twitter. “Help us continue to deliver our fantastic care for childhood congenital heart disease,” the CAHAL wrote.
In a letter to Parliament about the matter, De Jonge refers to a scientific report which “shows that patient numbers in all four centers are too low to meet the volume standards of the quality guidelines. This is a problem especially for procedures on children”. it said.
“With the current spread of care across four centers at five locations, the treatment teams and adjacent specialists have little opportunity to perform complex cases and additional complicated interventions. This limits their options for maintaining and further developing the required specialist knowledge and skills,’ says De Jonge.