Sunday, 22nd October 2017
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Halligan delivers on mobile cath lab pledge but major questions over 24/7 cardio care remain

The long-awaited mobile cath lab secured by Independent Minister of State John Halligan T.D. as part of his ongoing fight to improve cardiology services in the south east arrived at University Hospital Waterford last night (Saturday).

The staffed unit will cater for approximately 30 - 45 patients requiring Diagnostic Coronary Angiography per week from the current outpatient list and is expected to completely clear the currently stagnant waiting lists during its five months on site, Minister Halligan explained:

"I understand around 30% of people who were offered an appointment in Cork for their Diagnostic Angiogram in recent months turned it down, for various personal reasons, so I want to reassure them that the mobile lab is expected to completely clear the backlog at UHW whilst it is in place."

Minister Halligan said the mobile lab was first proposed to him by cardiac consultants in the region as an alternative to outsourcing UHW patients to Cork for their cardiology diagnostics:

"These consultants, who are based in Waterford, Wexford and South Tipperary, presented this option to Minister for Health Simon Harris themselves at a meeting late last year and I am delighted that the presence of the mobile lab will mean no patient in the south east will have to travel to Cork for their diagnostic appointment. While radiography and cardiac technician staff will be supplied with the mobile lab, all reporting of patient images will be carried out by the HSE’s own Consultant Cardiologists."Acknowledging that the mobile lab will not provide emergency cardiac care, Minister Halligan said the campaign to extend 24/7 cardiac cover to the south east continues in earnest. However the operation of the mobile cath lab at UHW will be used to strengthen the argument that a permanent second cath lab is necessary to meet the cardiology needs of the south east, Minister Halligan noted:

"As previously confirmed, a second review is to take place into the day-to-day cardiology needs of the region and, as part of this, throughput at the mobile lab will be measured in the context of two cath labs operating concurrently at UHW.

Consultants have assured me that the demand to have two labs in operation on a long-term basis does exist and I have no doubt that this will be reflected in the second review, which is separate to the nationwide review into primary PCI (emergency) services announced by Minister for Health Simon Harris in July."

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