Campaigner Willie Doyle: "There is a consultant on call at the weekends at UHW - but not a specialist cardiac consultant."CAMPAIGNERS calling for
24/7 cardiac care for Waterford
and the South East have criticised
claims made by management
at University Hospital
Waterford (UHW).
In a recent email circulated
to UHW staff, which was
printed in last week’s Munster
Express, General Manager
Richard Dooley claimed
that there was 24/7 consultant
medical cover for cardiac
patients at the hospital.
However, Willie Doyle of
the ‘24/7 Cardiac Care for
Waterford and the South East’
campaign group disagrees.
“There is a consultant on
call but not a specialist cardiac
consultant,” he said.
“It’s not true to give the
impression that cardiology is
available and that a cardiac
consultant is on call 24/7. And
even if a consultant cardiologist
is working 24/7, the Cath
Lab is closed.”
He added: “When you’re
having a heart attack, you need
a cardiologist – not any of the
other specialities.”
Mr Doyle began the ‘24/7
Cardiac Care for Waterford
and the South East’ campaign
when his daughter Jennifer
Pheasey was admitted to
It was discovered she had
a blockage in the main blood
vessel going to her heart and, as
she had arrived at 4.30pm on a
Friday, she was able to receive
the necessary treatment.
However, Mr Doyle was
shocked to discover that the
Cath Lab at UHW is only
open from Monday to Friday
between 8.30am and 5.30pm.
Recently, Mrs Pheasey was
admitted to UHW once again.
“She got a pain on a Friday
evening and was admitted to
UHW. She was taken up to
the medical unit as the cardiac
unit was closed,” explained Mr
“She was taken in and the
doctor on call examined her.
As the cardiac unit was shut
they told her they couldn’t
do anything for her until it
opened on Monday and kept
her in to monitor the pain and
if her condition changed she
would have to be transferred
to Cork.”
He continued: “She was in
hospital Friday night, Saturday
night and Sunday night.
On Monday morning when the
cardiologist reported for duty,
she was examined and told her
medication would be changed.
“Her medication was
changed on Monday afternoon
and she was kept in for observation
before being sent home
on Tuesday morning. Therefore,
she occupied a hospital
bed for four days and nights
when one night would have
suffi ced.”
Despite this, Mrs Pheasey
praised the staff at UHW
and believes they are doing
great work under diffi cult
Mr Doyle, who spoke during
‘The People’s Debate with
Vincent Browne’ which was
broadcast on TV3 recently,
also responded to claims that
audience members portrayed
a negative image of Waterford.
He said he was disappointed
that participants in the programme
were being branded
as negative when many had
genuine concerns particularly
in relation to UHW.
“We’re not being negative,
these are the facts. The government
is causing the negativity
by not providing us with the
24/7 cardiac care which was
promised, as we are the only
area of this island without this
service,” said Mr Doyle.
“We feel that as a commitment
to positivity, surely
the hours could be extended
immediately to provide 8am
to 8pm cover seven days a
week and that would make a
big difference. That would be a
starting point and would show
a commitment to preserving
lives in the south east.”
Mr Doyle highlighted that
the lack of 24/7 cardiac care at
UHW doesn’t just impact on
those living in Waterford.
“There are half a million
people in the south east,” he
“And there is going to be an
infl ux of tourists over the next
few months. People are terrifi
ed of having a heart attack
out of hours.”