Friday 31 March 2023

Reprieve for Groningen children’s heart unit, Leiden and Utrecht to close

Photo: MIGroningen

Health minister Ernst Kuipers has scrapped plans to close Groningen’s specialist children’s heart unit, opting to close Utrecht instead.

Kuipers reversed the much criticised decision by his predecessor Hugo de Jonge to concentrate paediatric heart services in Utrecht and Rotterdam, which would mean closing the units in Groningen and Leiden.

The healthcare authority NZa criticised the plan last December, arguing it would compromise access to healthcare in the Leiden area and the northern provinces of Friesland, Groningen, Drenthe and Overijssel.

In January the minister gave the university hospitals ‘one last chance’ to decide between themselves which of the four units should shut. Both the government and the NZa agreed that concentrating services at two locations would improve the quality of specialist care.

Last week it became clear that the hospitals were unable to agree on a plan. On Monday Kuipers confirmed the closure of Leiden but Utrecht will shut instead of Groningen. Rotterdam will also stay open.

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