Doctors object to end of heart bypass surgery at Randwick children’s hospital


Park and Coogee MP Marjorie O’Neill, who both campaigned for cardiac surgery to remain at the Randwick hospital while Labor was in opposition, met with medical staff at the hospital on Thursday.

In a statement, medical staff council chair Dr Puneet Singh said Park listened to their concerns about the need to maintain the capacity to perform heart surgery – including cardiac bypass – at Randwick, and said the minister was considering the issues raised.

Health Minister Ryan Park met with staff at Randwick on Thursday.

Health Minister Ryan Park met with staff at Randwick on Thursday.Credit: Rhett Wyman

“We are awaiting the outcome,” he said.

He said 14 children had received life-saving ECMO support in the last 18 months.

A spokesperson for Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network said there had been “no change to current arrangements for the provision of specialised paediatric cardiac services” across the two hospitals.

“Complex cardiac surgery, including elective cardiac bypass surgery, will continue to be performed at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead (CHW), with lower complexity cases, including extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) and emergency cardiac surgery, continuing to be performed at both CHW and Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick (SCH),” they said.

The Children’s Hospital at Westmead.

The Children’s Hospital at Westmead.Credit: Louise Kennerley

The allocation of cardiac resources across the Sydney Children’s Hospital Network has been a longstanding source of friction since the amalgamation of the two hospitals.

In 2020, former health minister Brad Hazzard revived a dormant cardiac surgery program at Randwick following a review by Emeritus Professor Richard Henry. In 2021, another review found medium and low complexity surgeries could safely continue at both Randwick and Westmead.

Cardiac surgeons at Westmead disagreed, arguing patients would be better off if heart surgeries were performed solely at their hospital, rather than resources being split across two locations.

Doctors at Randwick argue losing cardiac surgery would compromise other services, damaging their status as a comprehensive hospital and limiting their ability to recruit high-quality staff.


Park did not answer questions put to him about the cardiac surgery program at Randwick, including about his previous support for cardiac surgery to continue across the two sites.

A government spokesman said Park “has always said that he will listen to our frontline health staff and clinicians” and the current arrangements were “based on the weight of evidence and expert advice from clinicians”.

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