Why the people of the southeast are being put at risk
The Cardiac Cath Lab at University Hospital Waterford (UHW) serves over 500,000 people across the southeast but only operates Monday – Friday, 9 – 5pm. All other regions in the country have 24/7 cardiac cover and Cath Lab access. Patients in the southeast who suffer heart attacks after 5pm cannot access a Cath Lab in UHW or anywhere else within the 90 minute recommended time. This can result in catastrophic health outcomes and death, due to failure to receive the appropriate care in the recommended time. This care could be given at UHW if this service was funded to provide 24/7 out of hours cover.
Why our Cardiac Care service is being restricted
UHW is the most efficient single public Cath Lab in Ireland doing complex cardiac interventional procedures. Fact! Yet it is only resourced and funded to operate 37 hours per week. All other regional public labs are resourced and funded to operate 24/7. UHW is currently working at maximum capacity every day. Waiting lists for diagnostic treatment after a heart attack, recommended within 24 hours, are currently taking up to 14 days, given constrained access to the lab Patients are therefore being advised to access services outside the region
Why is the HSE not being fair to the people of the southeast?
The Cardiac Cath Lab at UHW is the main centre in the southeast and covers a population of 500,000 people. It is the most efficient Cath Lab in the country. It is the most geographically accessible centre for emergency patients in the southeast. Despite all this, the HSE is not willing to fund further expansion of the service. It prefers to direct patients to other centres up to 130 miles away which is putting patients’ lives at risk.