While the appointment of a design team for the construction of the second Cath Lab at University Hospital Waterford (UHW) represents a positive step forward, the region-wide demand for delivering 24/7 cardiac care awaits delivery.
Speaking on Monday morning’s ‘Deise Today’ on WLR, former UHW Clinical Director Rob Landers said that Health Minister Simon Harris’s weekend declaration that a second lab was required in the region was, in itself, a significant development.
“The other thing he said was that the funding (for the second cath lab) was fully in place, and that’s very important because this comes back to the timeline. It’s easy to announce a design team and a design brief, but you must then continue the funding stream to deliver on the building and equipping of the project.”
People power, according to Dr Owens, “played a huge role in this announcement”. He added: “I think the politicians, not only in Waterford but across the South East got the message, loud and clear, that the people of the South East need 24/7 cardiac care and the provision of a second cath lab is the first step towards that.” On Friday last, the HSE gave formal notice that the project is to be included in its 2019 Capital Programme. The design team will developing the new lab and adjacent day ward, which is to be constructed above the existing ground floor Cardiology Department at UHW, with total capital costs for the project totalling €4.9 million.
“The improvement and development of cardiac services at University Hospital Waterford has been beset with one delay after another,” said Minister of State John Halligan.”There is no simply no reason why the design team should not have been appointed already. People are sick and tired of hearing excuses from the HSE, it is not good enough.” Said Sinn Féin Deputy David Cullinane “All of this is positive but we have to be cognisant of the fact that there were are voices within the HSE who have been against this project since day one and we need to be vigilant to ensure that there is no more foot-dragging on this essential and necessary project for Waterford and the South East. We need to ensure that the second cath lab moves to stage two – that is, actual construction – as quickly as possible.”
Speaking on Monday, Senator Paudie Coffey (FG) said the appointment of the design team represented “the first real tangible steps to delivering a fully sustainable second cath lab at University Hospital Waterford.”
Senator Coffey’s statement noted that he has been working alongside five of the six Waterford Oireachtas members, including Minister of State John Halligan, Deputy Cullinane, Senator Grace O’Sullivan (GP) and Fianna Fáil TD Mary Butler, “to present a united political front to deliver the second cath lab”. He added: “The achievement of full 24/7 cardiac care remains the objective, and the delivery of the second cath lab is a significant step towards achieving that ultimate goal.”
In further reaction, General Election candidate Councillor Eddie Mulligan (FF) struck a less optimistic note than the Oireachtas members that is undoubtedly keen to unseat.“I’m not the only person who’s more than a bit suspicious about only €150K being authorised on this Capital Plan, especially in the context of the controversy surrounding the National Children’s Hospital,” he said.
“I understand that there is strength in numbers, but surely it has become counterproductive for our Oireachtas members to continue to jointly be drip fed commitments on promises that are being fed to them. The cynic in me thinks that there may be no change from amber to green light for a second cath lab, and ultimately 24/7, before the announcement of a General Election.” Make no mistake: this story will rumble for some time to come yet