Tuesday, 19th September 2017
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Minister of State John Halligan has questioned why University Hospital Waterford moved from its original approach earlier this year of offering cardiology patients the option of an appointment at Cork University Hospital, to subsequently informing them that their Diagnostic Angiogram would be performed in Cork. And Minister Halligan warned that it would be unacceptable for patients to be left with any impression that they did not have a choice in having their diagnostic appointment outsourced to Cork.

The HSE announced in January that, in an effort to improve patient access and to reduce the waiting times for procedures, it would commence the process of referring patients to Cork University Hospital to have their Diagnostic Angiogram performed.

“I was opposed to the outsourcing and was told that, whilst we were awaiting the arrival of a mobile cath lab in Waterfors, patients would be given the option of attending Cork for their diagnostic appointment. However it has come to my attention that a number of patients received a letter informing them that their procedure is instead to be carried out in Cork.”

“I have expressed my concerns to General Manager at UHW Richie Dooley and he has informed me that it was agreed in January that UHW would send a courtesy letter to all patients on the waiting list informing them of the agreement to outsource patients to Cork and UHW would follow up with an appointment letter to them.

“I have seen copies of this second letter, which clearly does not give patients an option. Instead, the letter tells patients: ‘Your procedure will be carried out in Cork University Hospital and you will be taken off our waiting list here in UHW on completion of your procedure’.

“Several patients have come to my office, very anxious that they would have no choice but to travel to Cork when they would prefer to be seen in Waterford. Some of these people are elderly and have other health conditions and the prospect of travelling to CUH is a daunting one for them. It is important to reassure people that the decision to accept any appointment in Cork is purely their own, personal choice and they also have the option of remaining on the UHW waiting list, if they so wish.”

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