Friday, 21st July 2017
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Fianna Fáil hold key to delivering of 24/7 Cardiac Care for South East

As Waterford Today was going to print, people from Waterford and the South East area, responding to a call from the South East Patient Advocacy Group were converging on Dáil

Eireann to demand 24/7 Cardiac Care for the South East region. Many people carried “I am Tom” posters, in memory of the late Thomas Power who died on Father’s Day on his way to CUH because the Cath Lab at UHW was closed for the weekend.

The Health Equality for the South East group have released the statement below.

Health Equality For the South East (HEFSE.com) instigators of ‘Hand On Heart’ is one of the groups invited to take part in an Oireachtas members briefing Tuesday 4th July on South East cardiac services. Although we welcome the opportunity afforded by TDs, David Cullinane and Mary Butler who have arranged this meeting, we note that any immediate political development is unlikely on the issue.

The period left before the Dail goes into recess would appear not to offer the time required to lobby to change the political status quo for people in the south-east – that is without some significant political intervention. The status quo means people in the region will continue to be exposed to health risk for at least another 12 months without any meaningful political effort to implement regional 24 seven cardiac rescue services. We note also the position of Minister Simon Harris who stated yet again he is clinging to the Herity report and must be guided by clinical expertise – this despite the opinions of 116 regional Hospital Consultants or those of 245 regional GPs who have called for the immediate implementation of a 24/7 South East cardiac care service.

The only positive contribution we believe can come from the Oireachtas meeting July 4th is recognition from Fianna Fail that they now hold the key to delivering on this issue. HEFSE is calling on Mary Butler TD, Fianna Fail and other allied TDs to progress required motions on this issue and force a confidence motion if needs be in recognition that 500,000 people along with the visitors to the region cannot be left any longer without a regional cardiac rescue service. The senior front bench in Fianna Fail have come out publicly to offer support to this issue - time now to deliver for this region and before the 3 months Dail recess!

If people are wondering on the Cabinets position on the issue last week’s Seanad Debate and the Ministers reply to the significant contributions from both Government and non Government Senators was more than instructive!

Deputy Mayor of Waterford Cllr. John Cummins has sent a strong letter on behalf of the thirty-seven Fine Gael Councillors in the South East (Waterford, Wexford, Kilkenny, Carlow & South Tipperary) calling on Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Minister Simon Harris to implement 24/7 Cardiac Care at UHW as a matter of urgency.

In a letter sent to both the Taoiseach and Minister, seen by this newspaper, the Fine Gael Councillors state that “nothing less than the delivery of a second cath lab and 24/7 PPCI services in the region will suffice, so deep is public anger on this matter”. They point out that the region, according to the latest census is made up of 582,440 people whom they believe are not being treated with fairness and equity when it comes to life saving interventional cardiology services, The also cite flaws in the Herity report, commissioned to examine the need for enhanced services within the South East region, including the fact that 174,864 people within the region live outside the critical 90 minute transfer time to a PPCI centre.

Commenting on the letter Cllr. Cummins said “This is a strong statement by the Fine Gael Councillors in the South East region and I want to thank my colleagues across the 5 counties for adding their support to the campaign for enhanced cardiology services at UHW. I cannot remember a time in the recent past where we have all united in such a public way on an issue, which goes to show how important it is. I arranged for this letter to be sent because I believe the maximum pressure must be brought to bear on senior civil servants and senior HSE executives who are preventing this service from being established at UHW. They need to start listening to the people and the political representatives on the ground, this service is needed and it is needed now, and we intend to pursue this until a satisfactory solution is achieved”.

The letter is signed by the following Councillors:

From Waterford, Cllr. John Cummins, Cllr. Lola O’Sullivan, Cllr. John Carey, Cllr. Damien Geoghegan, Cllr. Liam Brazil, Cllr. Pat Nugent. Cllr. Declan Doocey and Cllr. Seanie Power.

From Kilkenny, Cllr. Fidelis Doherty, Cllr. Pat Dunphy, Cllr. Patrick O’Neill, Cllr. Mary Hilda Javanagh. Cllr. David Fitgerald, Cllr. Michael Doyle and Cllr. John Brennan.

From Wexford, Cllr. Jim Moore, Cllr. Larry O’Brien, Cllr. Willie Fitzharris, Cllr. Kathleen Codd-Nolan, Cllr. Paddy Kavanagh, Cllr. Oliver Walsh, Cllr. Frank Staples, Cllr. Anthony Donoghue and Cllr. John Hegarty.

From Tipperary, Cllr. Marie Murphy, Cllr. Louise McLoughlin, Cllr. Michael Murphy, Cllr. Mary Hourigan, Cllr. Johnny Fahey, Cllr. John Crosse and Cllr. Michael Fitzgerald

From Carlow, Cllr. Brian O’Donoghue. Cllr. Thomas Kinsella, Cllr. Denis Foley, Cllr. Fergal Browne, Cllr. Michael Doran and Cllr. John Murphy.

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