THE dad of a Wearside tot given life-saving treatment at a North East heart hospital today gave the thumbs up to plans for a proposed £30million expansion.
Planning documents have been submitted for the development of Newcastle Freeman Hospital’s Cardiothoracic Centre.
The service provides care for all types of heart and respiratory related conditions in adults and children.
The news comes at a time when there is still uncertainty surrounding the future of heart services in the North East, with a national review of Congenital Heart Disease (CHD) still being carried out.
Sunderland tot Jake Barker, now two, was born with a serious heart defect and had to have surgery at the Freeman aged just five weeks.
At birth, the Hendon youngster had a ventricular septal defect, which happens when the area between the two sections of the heart fails to develop, and a small right ventricle.
Dad David, 22, said: “The unit treat some of the most seriously ill children around the UK and Ireland, so to get plans in place for the expansion of cardiothoracic services is brilliant news.
“I was in with Jake only a few weeks ago, and even for a close patient in the unit, it is still a eye-opening place.”
As part of the development a new three-storey facility will be created and will include a 20-bed paediatric intensive care unit, an 18-bed inpatient ward, and cardiothoracic operating theatre and catheter laboratory suite.
David added: “The extra beds on the paediatric intensive care unit are really important in making sure the unit can keep providing life saving surgery for babies, children and young adults.”