The political row over a second catherisation lab in University Hospital Waterford has been defused following agreement to provide a mobile unit instead.
It will allow scores of cardiac patients who are currently on a waiting list to be referred for treatment.
Anyone suffering a major heart attack is best treated in one of these units which is an examination room where treatments such as angiograms can be carried out.
The compromise was reached last night and follows a major row last year which led to a threat by Independent Alliance Minister John Halligan to resign.
A spokeswoman for the South/South West Hospital Group said today that University Hospital Waterford had yet to receive official confirmation about the mobile lab.
Mr Halligan said it was a big step forward and the mobile unit had been sought by doctors.
It followed disappointment last year when an independent report did not recommend a second lab but instead said the existing facility should be expanded with more patients referred to Cork.
The Programme for Government committed to the development of a second catherisation lab at Waterford, subject to a favourable recommendation from an independent clinical review. It was a condition of Mr Halligan’s support for the Government.
However, at the end of November there were around 596 patients needing cardiac procedures although around 130 were sent to private hospitals in recent weeks.
Mr Halligan said agreement on the mobile lab was reached late last night following negotiations between the Independent Alliance and Minister for Health Simon Harris.
However, it is not designed as an alternative to a permanent second 'cath lab'.
The Programme for Government committed it to the development of a second catherisation lab at Waterford, subject to a favourable recommendation from an independent clinical review.
The existing lab will also expand its hours of operation.