The heart surgery queue at Helsinki's New Children's Hospital has shortened somewhat but is still too long, according to HUS, the Helsinki and Uusimaa Hospital District.
Efforts by the hospital and other factors helped shorten the child heart surgery queue from 110 to 69 patients around the beginning of this year.
The queue was shortened by a low birth rate and a change in the number of patients needing surgery, according to Jukka Salminen, Head of Paediatric Surgery at the New Children's Hospital. Additionally, the facility prioritised operations for those patients who needed shorter stays in intensive care.
The hospital's heart surgery queue problem has eased, but needs further improvement, according to Jari Petäjä, Chief Executive of Child and Adolescent Services at HUS.
"Our goal is that there will be no more than 50 children on the heart surgery waiting list and that none of them should have to wait more than six months," Petäjä said.
Cross-border treatment also option for some
The district recently recruited around a dozen neonatal and children's ICU nurses, according to HUS.
National security of supply and preparedness rules require that the facility's paediatric intensive care unit be kept permanently open around the clock, with 12 ICU beds. At the moment there are eight such beds that are vacant.
The New Children's Hospital has offered 20 families with kids needing surgery the option to go to Copenhagen's specialist hospital, Rigshospitalet.
Families offered that chance are ones whose children have a heart defect or cardiac disease that requires surgery but is not immediately life-threatening.
The Danish hospital uses Finnish or Swedish interpreters to communicate with families, according to Petäjä.
He predicts that cross-border cooperation between university hospitals will increase in the future, because the healthcare crisis affects countries around Europe.
Petäjä said that cooperation between European hospitals is not new, as the hospital district has seen some patients whose treatment is not available in Finland.
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