More than 100,000 people sign petition to keep UMCG pediatric cardiac surgery open
A petition to stop the closure of the pediatric heart surgery department at the UMC Groningen open has been signed 116,000 times.
Health Minister Hugo de Jonge wanted to concentrate cardiac surgery and cardiac catheterization in children and highly complex procedures in adults with a congenital heart defect in the future in the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam and the UMC Utrecht/Wilhelmina Children's Hospital (WKZ). The Center for Congenital Defect Amsterdam/Leiden (CAHAL) and the UMCG will no longer perform this type of care.
PvdA MP Henk Nijboer told RTV Noord it is "crazy that the minister wants to close the pediatric cardiac surgery department and concentrate everything on the Randstad."
"What does that mean for the future of children in all of Noord-Nederland?", Nijboer asked.
Pediatric ICU nurses at UMCG began the petition 'Let UMCG remain a children's cardiac center.' The nurses warn that this care is disappearing in the country's north. "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 is thus wiped out in one go."
A petition has also been started to keep the CAHAL open, 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 issue, De Jonge refers to a scientific report which "shows that patient numbers are too low to meet the volume standards of the quality guidelines in all four centers. This is especially a problem with procedures in children", it said.
"With the current spread of care over four centers at five locations, the treatment teams and adjacent specialists have little opportunity to carry out complex cases and additional complicated interventions. They thus limit their possibilities to maintain and further develop the required specialist knowledge and skills," De Jonge said.
Reporting by ANP and NL Times