Former Clinical Director of the Southwest Hospital Group and spokesperson for campaign group Health Equality For the South East (http://www.hefse.com ) Dr. Rob Landers, has given a guarded welcome to the news of a mobile Cath lab service to arrive on site at UHW in coming weeks. The announcement was made on Friday by Minister John Halligan who said he has reached an agreement with the Minister for Health and HSE to place a mobile Cath Lab at University Hospital Waterford.
Dr Landers says ‘the mobile lab has the ability to significantly increase the number of patients having diagnostic procedures at the regional cardiac centre in UHW’. ‘This in turn will help to ease service and emergency planning in the hospitals main Cath lab’ he said. ‘Activity in the mobile lab can be done at very favourable cost and without requiring any additional consultant expenditure’. ‘In addition it ensures that patients requiring follow on treatment post diagnostic such as PCI (stenting), can be scheduled that same day in the main lab’ he said. ‘This a significant improvement to having patients travel to Cork for diagnostic treatment and then return to the waiting list in Waterford for follow on procedures’ – a fact for 300 patients now targeted in a recent HSE service plan.
Dr Landers however did point out that this mobile service will not deliver a 24/7 Cardiac Care Program for the South East region. He noted remarks made by Minister Halligan that certain other clarifications have to be realised in order for the mobile lab to proceed on site. ‘I am mindful of comments made by the Minister that as part of the agreement further steps as yet undetermined are required including a follow on review’. Dr. Landers cautioned that related terms of reference to such review need to be considered carefully by Minister Halligan and south east cardiology consultants.
Dr Landers reiterated the importance of having the mobile lab situated as soon as possible and within weeks, so that impact can be created to the significant long term waiting list at UHW. ‘This is welcome news in terms of diagnostic access but we still need to keep our focus - emphasis must remain on the provision and enhancement of our emergency cardiac access at UHW’ he said. ‘We need patient equality with all other regions by having a 24/7 cardiac cover for the South East population based at UHW’.
‘The primary aim of this campaign is to deliver 24/7 cardiac care for the South east region including emergency cardiac access and in that respect nothing has changed’ he said.