Funding for Second Cath Lab Secured

Capital funding of €4.75 million has been approved by the HSE to construct a second cath lab and associated day ward at University Hospital Waterford (UHW), Waterford’s Oireachtas members were informed on Friday last. At the November meeting of the HSE’s National Capital and Property Steering Committee meeting, it was agreed to proceed with the construction of the new cath lab above the existing ground floor Cardiology Department at UHW.

The two labs will be connected via a lift and stairs and a new recovery/day ward for cardiology patients will also be provided on the first floor. The new lab will take 12 to 16 months to design and construct, while the mobile lab currently delivering diagnostics at UHW will remain on site in the interim.
Recruitment of necessary staff will take place during construction so that, on completion, there is no delay in the lab becoming operational. Furthermore, recruitment for additional staff to extend the interventional services at the existing lab to 8am to 8pm (Monday to Friday), is at an advanced stage.
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Five staff (Grade IV Admin, Porter, Senior Cardiac Physiologist, Senior Radiographer and Staff Nurse) have now been recruited on an 8am to 8pm working day basis. Documentation is also being finalised for the recruitment of a consultant cardiologist required to facilitate the provision of additional operating hours.
Waterford’s Oireachtas members have received assurances from senior HSE management that every effort will be made to accelerate construction of the new cath lab, where possible:In a joint statement they said: “We are delighted that our cross-party efforts have succeeded in delivering a second cath lab for Waterford. We will continue to work together to improve services and outcomes for cardiology patients across the south east and will meet senior HSE officials throughout the design and construction phase to be updated on progress and ensure the fastest possible delivery of Waterford’s second cath lab.”

Reflecting on the announcement on Monday morning, Matt Shanahan of the Health Equality of the South East (HEFSE) action group stated that “no official pronouncement has yet been made yet on the proposed configuration or delivery of a future cath lab service at University Hospital Waterford”.

Mr Shanahan appealed for clarity from Health Minister Simon Harris on the following: “One: What is the proposed specification of the Cath lab been considered and will the Department guarantee that it can provide interventional cardiac catheterisation procedures including Primary PCI? Two: Given that Minister Harris now recognises the need for expanded cardiac services in the South East, will Oireachtas members seek the immediate recruitment of an interventional cardiac consultant to work in the modular contracted lab on site to include a service budget for additional stenting service so that the longest cardiac stenting list in the country can now be addressed? And three: Given the information from RTE’s Prime Time programme which clearly details that patients from the South East region cannot access emergency cardiac care outside of the region within any internationally recognised clinical time frame, will the Department of Health now immediately prioritise permanent recruitment of cardiac personnel to expand the Waterford based service to seven days? HEFSE believes that if the Government and the South East Oireachtas members are adamant about the need to prioritise patient care then immediate enhancement of service in the contract cath lab on site is the fastest and most efficient way of pursuing this objective while planning of a second permanent cath lab continues.”

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