waterford-regional-hospital-scenes-junior-doctors-disputes-strike-health-crisis-in-ireland-2-390x2851-300x219An independent expert has been appointed to conduct a review into cardiology services at University Hospital Waterford and assess the need to open a second cath lab.
Dr Niall Herity, consultant cardiologist and clinical director of cardiology at the Belfast HSC Trust, will carry out the review outlined in the new Programme for Government.
Minister for Skills and Training John Halligan, who hammered out a deal to expand cardiology services at University Hospital Waterford in agreement to him supporting a Fine Gael-led Government, has previously described the review as a ‘formality’ since the current single cath lab is operating at full capacity with increasing waiting lists.
Dr Herity’s review, which will be completed within six weeks, will examine data from UHW and compare it to other regions, as well as analysing current and projected populations of the region. He will then make recommendations to the Minister for Health, Simon Harris, about the future cardiology needs of the south east. Pending a favourable recommendation, funding has been ringfenced to proceed immediately with the build and fit-out and, in the interim, extend the opening hours of the single cath lab by increasing staffing levels.
“This review will make clear what consultants at UHW have been saying for years – that the current situation is not safe,” Minister Halligan commented.
“Activity at the single cath lab is increasing year on year. There is an 18-month waiting list for angiograms, while inpatients with serious cardiac problems are currently waiting over seven days for their procedure. The national guideline is 24 hours.
Furthermore, the number of emergency stent procedures carried out at UHW annually – combined with those sent to Cork or Dublin after hours – is well above the minimum guideline required to warrant the second lab.” (See ‘Express View’ for more on a challenging week for Minister Halligan)