Mobile cath lab to open, but many face long journeys
A mobile cath lab will be ready to treat heart patients from early next month at University Hospital Waterford, it emerged yesterday.
However, large swathes of the country are worse off with patients still facing long journeys to get to one of the few 24-hour cath labs.
The installation of the Waterford mobile unit follows political controversy over the decision not to build a second cath lab at the hospital, forcing many patients to travel to Cork in the evening and weekends.
A spokesman for the hospital said there were ongoing preparations under way for the unit, which will be used primarily to reduce waiting lists for patients requiring diagnostic angiogram, procedures which involve X-rays of heart arteries.
The hospital's permanent cath lab will continue to be open during core hours.
There are only five cath labs in the country that are operational 24/7, including the Mater and St James's Hospital in Dublin, University Hospital Galway, University Hospital Limerick and Cork University Hospital.
The four other cath labs only operate from 9am to 5pm. Apart from Waterford, these are in Beaumont Hospital, St Vincent's Hospital and Tallaght Hospital in Dublin.