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Sinn Féin seeks to speed up cath lab review with new politics

David Cullinane says the bill will inject “a sense of urgency” into the issue.

Protesters gathered outside Leinster House last Tuesday in support of a 24/7 cardiac facility for the South-East.
Protesters gathered outside Leinster House last Tuesday in support of a 24/7 cardiac facility for the South-East.
Image: Sam Boal via RollingNews.ie

SINN FÉIN HAS published a motion on a cath lab (or cardiac unit) for Waterford University Hospital – and is looking for cross-party support.

A meeting will be held next Tuesday to discuss the motion, which aims to speed up the review of services in the region.

David Cullinane, the Waterford TD who drafted the motion, told TheJournal.ie that the aim of the bill was inject “a sense of urgency” into the issue, as it seemed like ‘the can was being kicked down the road’.

He said that Fianna Fáil are tabling amendments, but should support the motion, while a Labour party spokesperson said that Brendan Howlin would attend the meeting and is “interested” in the motion.

The issue of a 24/7 cath lab, or a dedicated cardiac unit for University Hospital Waterford, has become an increasingly complicated topic for the government.

The government tasked Dr Niall Herity with assessing cardiac services in the South-East region.

The report was completed into whether a cath lab was needed in the region, and it concluded it wasn’t, which sparked outrage among the Waterford community that their healthcare had been used as a political tool.

The issue has become even more important for locals since the death of Thomas Power last month. The Waterford man in his 40s died of a heart attack in an ambulance on his way to being transferred to Cork University Hospital.

His sister Catherine said that she didn’t want any more reviews or assessments, and just wanted the cath lab unit to be opened as soon as possible.

When asked if he thought Minister for Health Simon Harris would support the motion, Cullinane said “I don’t believe it’s unreasonable”.

“It puts a timeframe on when the review should happen so we avoid it landing in the middle of next year.”

Read: ’I had a heart attack myself – if people don’t get help in that first hour, they won’t make it’

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