Waterford Minister of State John Halligan says work is to begin immediately on securing a modular cardiac cath lab at University Hospital Waterford.
The unit, once it’s on site next year, will be able to provide both diagnostic and follow-up interventional cardiac procedures.
It will significantly improve waiting lists in the South East.
Minister Halligan told WLR that “have been informed by Minister Harris that he agrees with the argument put forward by south east Oireachtas members – that there is merit in the proposal for a modular cath lab at UHW in order to address waiting times at the hospital, increase capacity to provide immediate access to the main cath lab for emergency patients presenting with heart attacks and provide a better service for the people of the region.
“Consequently, he has asked his Department to proceed without delay to engage with the HSE on the next steps in providing a modular lab. Minister Harris informs me that the time-frame for the development of modular builds as outlined by the HSE must include tendering, project design work, planning, commissioning and construction so it will take until next year to deliver the new building. However he has given me a commitment that funding for the lab, including staffing costs, will be ring-fenced in the 2019 budgetary Estimates and that work will begin immediately on the process to deliver it.
“There is no doubt that the mobile cath lab which has been in place since last October has had a significant impact on the diagnostic waiting list, helping to considerably reduce the elective waiting list numbers and wait times. The total number of patients waiting in January 2017 was 670 but, by January 2018, this had been reduced to around 370. Whereas many patients were previously waiting up to 18 months for a diagnostic angiogram, now the majority of patients are waiting 0-3 months.
“Despite this success, however, the mobile lab is limited to use for diagnostic angiograms only and does not provide facilities for more complex procedures. Of the patients who received diagnostic angiograms, around 30% require follow on procedures and the increased number of people who received a diagnosis in the mobile lab has hugely increased the pressure on capacity in the main cath lab. That’s why myself and other south east Oireachtas members have been working together to persuade Minister Harris of the merits in replacing the mobile lab with a modular lab that can cater for both diagnostic and interventional procedures.
“Whilst the modular lab is going through the procurement and planning process, I want to reassure cardiac patients and those on the waiting list that the mobile lab will remain on site at UHW and the National Review of Specialist Cardiac Services will continue to progress.
“However it is important to note that both the mobile lab and the modular lab are short-term solutions to address wait times in the south east whilst simultaneously demonstrating the demand for increased services. The real goal always has been – and remains – a second permanent cath lab and the provision of 24/7 cardiac care at UHW.”
Welcome news this morning as Minister @SimonHarrisTD makes decision to proceed with the modular Cath Lab at UHW – focus must now be on delivery asap by HSE
— Paudie Coffey (@PaudieCoffey) July 2, 2018
Positive news for Waterford this morning . Delighted to work with my Oireachtas colleagues in Waterford and the South…