NEW documentation shows that Herity Report figures were ‘cherry picked’ and the need for a second cath lab and 24/7 cardiac cover at University Hospital Waterford (UHW) ignored, according to campaigners.
The documentation, which was received under a Freedom of Information request on cardiac care in the South East, relates to submissions made to Dr Niall Herity in the preparation of his controversial report.
Dr Herity, a consultant based in Belfast, was tasked with conducting an independent review by Minister for Health Simon Harris.
His conclusions were found to be at odds with the demands for the hospital being made by Waterford politicians and campaigners who subsequently claimed that report was flawed in a number of aspects.
The Herity Report claimed that 150 procedures per annum were required in order to deem two cath labs and 24/7 PPCI at UHW viable.
However, Willie Doyle of the 24/7 Cardiac Cover for the South-East campaign group says newly obtained figures show that 203 patients required PPCI in the South-East in 2016.
Mr Doyle says the figures clearly illustrate the need for increased services at UHW.
Meanwhile, Deputy David Cullinane says the un-redacted documents show that Professor Herity “cherry-picked” data and ignored the regional need for a second Cath Lab and 24/7 PPCI at UHW.
“Data contained in a confidential report submitted to Prof Herity shows that the volume of cardiac procedures for the residents of the South-East region exceeds the national average for the state for all four modalities of cardiac care,” he said.
“The data also reveals that two thirds of all PPCI (emergency cardiac procedures) for patients in the South East are carried out in Cork and Dublin. Only one-third of emergencies are treated in the regional hospital, namely UHW. Separate documents from the Department of Health ignore the regional need and regional data and advocate that the Cath Lab population be based on the population of Waterford and its environs and not the population of the South-East.”
Responding to the development, Hilary O’Neill of SEPAG said campaigners have always maintained that the figures were cherry-picked.
“If there is now evidence to prove this how can Minister Harris continue to accept the findings of the Herity Report?” she said.“It is also widely accepted that it is virtually impossible to access treatment in CUH from many parts of the southeast within the requisite 90 minutes. These figures should absolutely copper-fasten our case to have the Herity Report set aside and the recommendations of the Higgins Report implemented immediately without the need for any further review. We do not want to see another person lose their life needlessly. In light of these revelations we would urge all the TD’s in the southeast together with their parliamentary party to put their political differences aside and unite and support the Motion calling for the immediate implementation of 24/7 at UHW which will be tabled next week.”