The length of time cardiac patients are waiting for procedures has reduced ‘dramatically’ since the mobile cath lab began its work at University Hospital Waterford.
The mobile unit has been in place around 5 weeks now and operates three days a week.
Consultant Cardiologist Patrick Owens at UHW says the mobile unit is getting through an average of 25-30 patients a week. And although they started with a waiting list of 490 and the number on the list is still in that region, the duration of the wait has been shortened to less than six months.
Mr Owens says the unit frees up the permanent cath lab to carry out acute procedures:
“The mobile unit is there as a way of getting through diagnostic angiography.. .and anything requiring further treatment can be done up in the main lab”.
Responding to the reduction in wait times Sinn Fein TD David Cullinane said it was welcome, but he said we need to be “cautious and vigilant when it comes to a planned national review and examine the terms of reference thoroughly”.
It’s expected the Health Minister Simon Harris will announce details of the National Review of PPCI services shortly.
Deputy Cullinane said:
“While this is good news we need to be vigilant and not conflate issues. The Herity Report recognised the long wait times for planned work at University Hospital Waterford and recommended as a solution greater collaboration between hospitals in the South/South West Group. Essentially this meant more patients from the South East outsourced to hospitals in Cork and Dublin.
“The issue in contention is the provision of 24/7 emergency care otherwise known as PPCI. The mobile lab is not providing any emergency care. It is providing diagnostic assessments and doing planned work only.
“Any national review focused on extending PPCI will focus on deficits in PPCI only. This is the critical area that will be under scrutiny. This is what underpinned the Herity Report. We need to make sure that the terms of reference of a national review is aimed at greater numbers of patients availing of PPCI on a 24/7 basis in their regional hospitals, that it examines the full range of travel times and recognises the regional disparities.”