Friday 28 July 2017

Simon Harris rules out a second cath lab for Waterford

Simon Harris: says study does not support second cath lab. Photo: Tom Burke
Simon Harris: says study does not support second cath lab. Photo: Tom Burke
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

Health Minister Simon Harris today ruled out granting a second cath lab to University Hospital Waterford despite the death of a father-to-be from a cardiac arrest after he could not get the emergency treatment he needed over the weekend.

Mr Harris, who was speaking at the annual conference of the Irish Private Hospitals Association in Dublin today, said the decision not to install a round- the -clock cath lab for the care and treatment of heart patients was made on clinical grounds and should not be changed for political reasons.

He said he was not aware of the full details of the death of Thomas Power (40) who died in an ambulance on his way to Cork University Hospital after failing to get emergency treatment at Waterford hospital because the cath lab does not operate at weekends.

The decision not to give Waterford a second cath lab was made last year after an independent report commissioned by the Department of Health said it was not merited although existing services should be expanded.

The hospital is to get a mobile cath lab in September but this is not expected to provide a 24/7 service.

The report was carried out by eminent Belfast cardiologist Prof Niall Herity, the minister added.

“I am happy after the mobile lab is there for a period to again review the situation, but I do have to follow the clinical evidence, just as my predecessors did in relation to cancer care or emergency departments.”

“If the minister of the day departs from that now well-established precedent, that would be a retrograde step.”

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