January 18, 2021

With a heavy heart: Yet another setback for Cath Lab at University Hospital Waterford

The new Cath Lab at University Hospital Waterford promised by the Government has once again been delayed and will not begin construction until Spring 2021 at the earliest.

The latest setback was revealed by local Independent TD Matt Shanahan in the Dáil this week where he described the delay as “wholly unacceptable.”

The second lab at UHW has been promised since September 2018. Earlier this year planning permission was granted for the construction of the lab and it was expected to begin in quarter four of this year. However, addressing the Dáil, Deputy Shanahan said he has discovered this is not now the case.

“I will revisit the issues at University Hospital Waterford’s cardiac care centre,” Deputy Shanahan said.

“Despite the Minister’s welcome recent assurances to me that we should see no further slippage of the second cath lab development promised from September 2018, I confirm to the Minister that the construction timeline has extended by a further three months, and construction may not begin until spring of 2021.

“This extension of time is wholly unacceptable.”

The Independent deputy also raised his worries that the provision on the cath lab was not included in the Programme for Government Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and the Green Party members are voting on today.

“It is a further source of angst to me that a commitment to future provision of a 24-7 cardiac care service for the south east is not contained in the present programme for government. As the Minister knows, University Hospital Waterford is the only designated national cardiac centre which does not provide a 24-7 cardiac care service,” the Waterford TD added.

“I highlight to the Minister, his party colleagues and those who sit on the other benches in this House that this service refusal remains a stain on the Department of Health and HSE’s national planning with respect to acute clinical care.

“We will not continue to be treated like serfs on our own land. The timelines proposed to deliver these two urgent cath lab projects must be given the highest priority in the Minister’s Department and the ground lost must be recovered,” Deputy Shanahan added.

In response to Deputy Shanahan, Health Minister Simon Harris acknowledged the latest delays to the second cath lab project. He said he will raise the delay with the CEO of the Health Service Executive.

“I know he has raised the matter of cardiac care in the south east, as did the Acting Chair, Deputy Butler, earlier today, Minister Harris said.

“I accept that we are not yet where we want to be, but I also acknowledge that there has been significant focus on trying to improve the outcome. We have had a mobile unit for a significant period. We gave sanction for a second cath lab since 24-7 coverage cannot be provided without a second cath lab.

“I will send a transcript of this exchange to the CEO of the HSE and ask that he provide an update, particularly about the important issue the Deputy raises about slippage and delay in construction timelines,” the minister added.


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