Consultants from south east "utterly reject" findings of Waterford hospital report

Dr Patrick Owens says he wishes the issue had not become politicised

Consultants from south east "utterly reject" findings of Waterford hospital report

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Consultants from the south east say they completely reject the findings of a report into cardiac care at University Hospital Waterford.

They also say they wish the issue had not become politicised by junior minister John Halligan.

The Waterford deputy struck a deal with Fine Gael that he thought would deliver a second cath lab for the Waterford hospital, as well as 24/7 cardiac services.

Fine Gael offered a review. However, that report did not recommend any expansion, and even suggested some services move to Cork.

Consultants say that review was flawed.

They say it does not take into account the full catchment area of people affected; that it underestimates travel time between hospitals; and underestimates the demand for services.

"We entirely accept that constrained resources exist in Irish healthcare," the group of consultant cardiologists say. "We acknowledge that cardiac services, like all services, must be fair, safe and rational.

"But we refute entirely the recommendations of this flawed report, resulting as it does in services which are, and remain, unfair, unsafe and based on flawed logic.”

The Waterford cardiac services are only open 9-5, Monday to Friday.

The issue of cardiac service expansion at Waterford was being lobbied for behind the scenes.

Clinical lead for cardiology at University Hospital Waterford, Dr Patrick Owens, said he wishes it had not become politicised.

"Before it became politicised, there was a slow and stately progress through the HSE standard channels for identifying the lack of cath lab as a critical clinical risk," he explained.

There were 66 acute cardiac operations carried out in University Hospital Waterford last year.

But, outside of service hours, 77 more people needed treatment.

The minimum limit for a second cath lab at a hospital is 100 - and consultants say if you take into account the services they could not facilitate, they are well above that number.

They are now seeking a face to face meeting with Minister Simon Harris.