Angioplasty services will be partially suspended at University Hospital Waterford in July, meaning heart attack patients will be forced to travel to Cork to receive the life-saving treatment.
The angioplasty (or Primary Percutaneous Coronary Intervention, PPCI) service, which currently operates five days a week, 9am to 5pm, shut at 1pm last Wednesday and Friday and will close one afternoon a week throughout July as a result of staff taking annual leave. The cath lab will also close on Wednesday, 13th August for maintenance on machines which, due to budget cuts, cannot be done out-of-hours.
The HSE had originally planned to limit the services on two afternoons in both July and August but Fianna Fáil councillor Jason Murphy said they were strongly advised against this move by Dr Eugene McFadden, a senior consultant in Cork who, according to Cllr Murphy, suggested that the HSE consider completely relocating the PPCI service to Cork for the summer.
Dr McFadden is understood to have expressed serious concerns that the partial opening of the service in Waterford would lead to life-threatening delays for heart attack patients.
“We are trying to push ahead with 24/7 cover yet now there is this fear amongst frontline workers that we will lose the service completely”, Cllr Murphy said.