Tuesday, 17th July 2018
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Regarding the statement that the Deptartment of Health have agreed to the future deployment of a modular interventional Cath lab at University Hospital Waterford, Matt Shanahan, PRO for the Health Equality for the South East Group has described the announcement as "more spin over substance".

Specifically HEFSE notes the following inconsistencies in terms of the implementation of the modular lab:

1. The original proposal was for a temporary modular lab to be sited where the existing mobile diagnostic lab is – as a temporary structure why is planning permission required? 2. The Department of Health advises that new funding has to be ring-fenced in October 2018 budget – The present diagnostic lab has a 2 million euro annual budget approved, the proposal offered to DOH to replace the mobile diagnostic lab with a modular lab required increased funding of 2500 euro per week to contractor, this to provide a 5 day per week service with contract staff . How can this cost not be met from current hospital group budget?

3. DOH advises construction required to facilitate new lab installation - A budget of 40,000 euro has already been spent in addressing the installation onsite at UHW of the Mobile diagnostic lab to include Hardcore stand, Overhead shelter awning and corridor to access mobile lab as well as electrical, computing and water linkage. All of this infrastructure is already in place and can accommodate new Modular Cath lab.

4. DOH advises a specific procurement process lasting 3 – 6 months envisaged – Why when only one company is available to tender for this service? A restricted tender to install 2 new Cath labs at St Vincents hospital was opened and closed with 17 days in July 2017 by DOH, this at a time when the minister announced a national review of cardiac services and said that no new infrastructure would be introduced anywhere until this review completed. The tender process for the Modular lab at UHW should begin immediately and follow the time frame set adhered to in the St. Vincents tender of July 2017.

5. The UK contract company has already advised the DOH that availability of contracted modular cath lab with staffing is limited. They offered 2 slots to DOH in Jan 2018, one has expired and the other requires an immediate signed order from HSE to reserve. Without this option secured it is likely that no modular lab scenario will be available if the other obstacles to implementing are gotten over.

6. HEFSE cannot understand why a proposal that was fully costed and given to the Minister in January 2018 and his dept has been left till now to be acted upon and even then directed with an 18 month implementation timeline?

7. The South East has the highest non-stemi (partial vessel blockage causing heart attack) patient population in the country confined to hospital awaiting interventional cath lab access – that this proposal has now been announced with the obstacles and strictures attached to delivery smacks of political gamesmanship and Dept and Government spin that something is being done when in fact the opposite is true.

HEFSE calls on all South East region politicians to now force the Minister to accede to immediately expedite delivery of this modular cath lab to include a guaranteed installation date in the interests of patient care in the South East region. That the Ministers office is located in an area adjacent to 20 Cath labs while the South East region is limited to a single interventional lab for 500,000 people should impel him to deliver this service immediately if his concerns to patient care are so paramount – that he and his Dept have sat on this modular lab proposal for 6 months with no activity whatsoever speaks volumes as to his and their concern for south east cardiac patients.

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