The new children's hospital inquires families about their willingness to have their child's heart surgery in Copenhagen. @HUS Ville Männikkö

Health & wellbeing

Helsinki University Hospital (HUS) is offering children awaiting heart surgeries the opportunity to undergo procedures in Nordic countries. The first letters inquiring about families' willingness to travel to Copenhagen for surgery will be sent this week.

The New Children's Hospital in Helsinki is exploring the possibility of pediatric heart surgeries in Copenhagen due to delays in providing care for children awaiting surgery in Finland.

This has been primarily caused by a shortage of nursing staff, leading to many children not receiving timely treatment as required by law. Following recommendations from the national pediatric intensive care working group, the New Children's Hospital initiated discussions with Nordic university hospitals concerning pediatric heart surgeries.

Collaboration opportunities with Copenhagen's children's hospital have now materialized. As a result, families of children awaiting heart surgeries will be contacted to inquire about their willingness to have the procedure in Copenhagen. Surgical options may later become available in Gothenburg, Sweden. All Nordic countries share similar treatment methods and excellent outcomes for pediatric heart surgeries. Receiving international patients is a standard practice for university hospitals.

"We need this alternative to ensure the queue for children awaiting heart surgery can be effectively managed under the current circumstances. We are grateful for the concrete connections now established with Copenhagen and Gothenburg children's hospitals. Our discussions so far have been characterized by a spirit of mutual assistance," says Jari Petäjä, Director of Children and Youth Diseases at HUS.

The surgery option in Copenhagen will be offered to pediatric patients with non-life-threatening heart defects or diseases requiring surgical intervention. The surgery queue at the New Children's Hospital has been shortened recently, with 85 children currently waiting for heart surgery. Of these, 35 have been waiting for more than the legally mandated 180-day treatment guarantee.

The New Children's Hospital is also working on other recommendations proposed by the national pediatric intensive care working group in collaboration with other university hospitals.