There are concerns regarding specialist services in Waterford Regional Hospital, a group A status hospital serving a region of more than 450,000, Fine Gael Senator Paudie Coffey told the Upper House.

Speaking on the Order of Business, he said there was a threat to many of the specialist services.

“Only one vascular surgeon serves the region because, while a second post has been approved, the Health Service Executive has not advertised it,” he said. “There has been a drain of consultants from the hospital. For example, it has lost one dermatologist, three orthopaedic surgeons and one cardiac surgeon in the past year or two,” he said. “People of this status leaving because the HSE is not managing the situation and appointing full-time replacements is a blow to the hospital’s morale and its development.”

It was not good enough that temporary consultants operated in a regional hospital with group A status serving an entire region. Patients and the hospital were suffering and there was a lack of confidence in the situation.

Senator Coffey asked the Leader of the House to invite the Minister for Health and Children to the House to debate the issue.

In reply, Senator Donie Cassidy said he would arrange a debate on it with the Minister for Health and Children following the Christmas recess.