Health bosses have agreed to fund the provision of a life-changing children’s cardiac nurse following years of campaigning and support by a local charity.
Over the past year-and-a-half, Aisling McGeady – Scotland’s first dedicated community cardiac pediatric nurse – has assisted in the treatment of more than 350 children.
Her care has made an incredible difference to those young people and the families going through difficult times with them.
But until now it has taken the generosity of a charity and its supporters to fund the highly-valued post.
The Rebecca’s Rainbow Heart Ebstein Anomaly Trust (RRHEAT) was established by Jane Gibson to help children like her daughter Rebecca, who was born with a rare congenital defect in her heart.
Mrs Gibson, 49, founded the charity to improve the quality of support available for youngsters in the north-east who live with cardiac conditions.
And earlier this year that goal led Mrs Gibson to hand NHS Grampian more than £55,000 to help improve heart condition care and cover the costs of a children’s cardiac nurse.
18 months on, and after seeing the success of the initiative, the health board confirmed last night that the RRHEAT charity will no longer have to use its funds, as it will be funding the post full-time as of next month.
Caroline Nurse, nurse manager at NHS Grampian, said: “I am delighted to confirm that NHS Grampian will be funding the community children’s cardiac nurse post as of May 2019.
“We would like to extend our sincere thanks to the Rebecca’s Rainbow Heart Ebstein Anomaly Trust for their vision, support and commitment to this service.
“That has allowed the post holder, Aisling McGeady, to make a real difference to children and families across NHS Grampian.”
Figures from the British Heart Foundation (BHF) reveal there were 23 heart or circulatory deaths of children from neonatal up to 14 years of age in Scotland in 2017.
In the same period, there were 21 deaths from all cancers within the same age range.
Mrs Gibson said she was “over the moon” when she heard the news and said the charity will now endeavour to bring the vital nursing service to other hospitals and health boards across Scotland.
She said: “It seems that people pressure actually can change things and I’m just so thankful to NHS Grampian.
“When I got the call to say they’d be funding the nurse, it left me feeling really quite emotional to be honest.
“It took me back to the days when we were faced with a lot of struggles when Rebecca was very young and very unwell, and the lack of support we received at that time.
“Knowing that I have been able to change the face of cardiac care and no other family will go through what we were forced to go through is just brilliant.
“We’re over the moon.”