Cath lab row: Simon Harris has 'no intention' of overruling Waterford Hospital review

Minister insists that recommendations of independent review must be accepted

simon harris

Minister for Health Simon Harris at Government Buildings in Dublin | File photo:

Minister for Health Simon Harris has said that a row over cardiac services at University Hospital Waterford is now a closed matter.

Mr Harris told Newstalk he had no intention of overturning the findings of a clinical review, which found that a second cath lab was not needed at the hospital.

Independent Alliance minister John Halligan threatened to quit over the issue earlier this week, claiming that the report was flawed.

The programme for government committed to developing a second cath lab "subject to a favourable recommendation from an independent clinical review".

The assessment was demanded by the Waterford TD, who had expected it to support the provision of increased services at the hospital.

But analysis undertaken by Belfast-based Dr Niall Herity indicated that the needs of the catchment area could be accommodated in a single cath lab. 

It did, however, recommend investing in existing cardiac services, including increasing the number of weekly sessions currently provided, to address waiting times and provide improved access for patients.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has already warned that the review's recommendation must be accepted.

Speaking in Dublin this morning, Mr Harris also insisted that medical advice would not be ignored.

"We brought in a very eminent cardiologist ...  to look at these matters.

"He was very clear in his view that a second cath lab was not currently required.

"I, as minister, have no intention of overruling that expert view of a clinician.

"As far as I can see, the matter is closed."