A decision on plans to close children’s heart surgery services in Groningen and Leiden has been postponed until summer after a backlash from local authorities, medical professionals and the public, the Groninger Internet Courant reports. In a letter sent to the Tweede Kamer, health minister Ernst Kuipers said he still believes cardiac surgery in children with a congenital heart defect should be concentrated in Rotterdam and Utrecht, but more research is needed to assess the consequences of any such closures.
The minister asked the Dutch Healthcare Authority to make an impact analysis before the summer holidays. Should the Authority conclude that UMCG’s pediatric cardiology unit must remain open, Kuipers says he is prepared to reconsider the decision.
Earlier, Groningen provincial politicians called on minister Kuipers to scrap the plan to close the children’s heart surgery department at the University Medical Center. The shutdown of the UMCG unit, the North’s only pediatric heart surgery service, would have far-reaching consequences for many people, councilors warned.