A mobile catheterisation lab to help with cardiology waiting lists was last week secured for University Hospital Waterford, following months of controversy over the issue which was the focus of a political row between Fine Gael and Independent Alliance TD John Halligan last year.
A review, commissioned by Minister for Health, Simon Harris, in May last year found that there was no need for a second permanent cath lab and the mobile lab was a counter proposal to the HSE’s plan to outsource patients to Cork. Mr. Halligan said that while the mobile lab was not designed as an alternative to a permanent second cath lab, it was “a big step forward”.
However, a campaign group, the South East Patient Advocacy Group described the announcement as “cynical” ahead of the group’s planned demonstration the following day, against the HSE’s plan to outsource patients to cork.
A spokesperson for the group said that while the mobile lab would reduce the number of patients on the waiting list in the South East region, they would not accept it as a permanent solution and would continue to campaign for 27/7 care at Waterford University Hospital.
Dr. Patrick Owens, a consultant cardiologist at University Hospital Waterford gave a cautious welcome to the announcement and said the mobile cath lab should address the waiting list, but that the inability to provide a 24/7 acute heart attack care would only be addressed by providing a full-time cath lab.