Waterford Minister of State John Halligan has praised the Health Minister for “going over the heads” of the HSE and confirming a second permanent cath lab would be developed for University Hospital Waterford.
Last month, Minister Simon Harris confirmed that a second permanent cath lab is to be provided on the grounds of University Hospital Waterford.
However the Sunday Times report cites a series of internal health department emails, released under Freedom of Information, which suggest officials did not believe a second cath lab at UHW was justified or that it fits in with national plans. A further document notes that the proposal for a second cath lab is not consistent with the 2016 Herity Report, which concluded that a second cath lab in Waterford was not justified.
Minister of State John Halligan said the latest documents released under FOI further demonstrate the uphill battle that people in the south east have had to face to achieve equality in cardiac health care:
“Since 2014, the HSE formally recognised the lack of a second cath lab at UHW as a critical clinical risk, rated at the most severe risk category in the HSE Risk Registry. This status was downgraded by an unknown person in the HSE, prior to Dr Herity commencing his review. The Herity Report itself was flawed on so many levels and yet officials are still determined to hide behind it in order to validate cardiology patients in the south east not receiving the same treatment as patients elsewhere in the country.”
According to Mr Halligan, the process to design and construct the new cath lab at UHW starts this month, with the recruitment of staff to take place during construction. The new lab will be delivered within the next 12-16 months and the mobile lab currently delivering diagnostics at UHW will remain on site in the interim.
Separately, the National Review of Specialist Cardiac Services, which is investigating the provision of 24/7 cardiac care across the country, is due to be complete in June 2019.