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Dublin: -1 °C Thursday 17 January, 2019

Harris vows to 'expedite review' of cardiac services following protests

The Health Minister said a nationwide review will take place.

Protesters outside Leinster House in support and in protest for a 24/7 Cardiac facility for the South East late last month.
Protesters outside Leinster House in support and in protest for a 24/7 Cardiac facility for the South East late last month.
Image: Sam Boal/

HEALTH MINISTER SIMON Harris has announced tonight that he has agreed to “expedite a review” of cardiac services in the south-east after a series of large-scale demonstrations.

In a statement this evening, Harris said he met with Waterford Oireachtas members from all parties in light of a cross-party motion in relation to cardiac services in the region.

He said the review will ”seek to ensure that as many patients as possible have access on a 24/7 basis to safe and sustainable emergency interventions following a heart attack”.

There has been a long-running campaign for increased cardiac services at Waterford University Hospital, and for increased hours of operation for the existing cath lab. A catheterisation lab helps visualise arteries and treat any heart problems found.

Recently, a man died during an ambulance transfer between hospitals in Waterford and Cork at the weekend. This led to a large protest outside the Dáil earlier this month.

The family of Thomas Power (40) claimed he would still be alive had the cath lab been open at University Hospital Waterford when he sought help late last month.

Harris said that his department will begin working on “identifying an international expert and examining the scope of the review”.

He added that the new review will not affect the additional resources provided to University Hospital Waterford or the “commitment to review the impact of extended hours at the existing cath lab and the deployment of a mobile cath lab”.

The campaign for a second cath lab at Waterford was the focus of a major political dispute last year. Local TD John Halligan – a junior minister – has long campaigned for increased cardiac services at the hospital, and the Independent Alliance member’s demands put his membership of the government in doubt.

Read: ‘If you have a heart attack in Waterford, Wexford or Kilkenny you should be treated the same’ >

Read: Crowds gather at Waterford hospital after man dies while being transferred to Cork >

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