THE Fianna Fáil TD for Waterford Mary Butler has said contingencies must be in place if the results in the temporary closure of the cath lab in University Hospital Waterford (UHW).
Deputy Butler said the potential 12-week closure of the cath lab was “massively concerning” and that it pressed the need for the HSE to expedite the procurement of a second cath lab.
“The current situation of 9am-5pm cardiac cover on a five day a week basis is a constant concern and to add to this, we may now have no intervention care for up to 12 weeks,” she told WaterfordLive.ie.
“While the replacement programme is necessary, the focus now has to be on what contingencies will be put in place, how will they be communicated, and how will the management restore patient confidence.
“With the mobile unit only fitted to do exploratory work, full cath lab services could be missing for 12 weeks in UHW.
“Understandably, I have been contacted by constituents who are deeply concerned about the lapse in service but also maddened as they had to hear this news from the media,” she said.
“Public confidence is seriously eroded. If the Government wants to make this second cath lab a priority, they would have done by now.”
Deputy Butler said she was calling on Minister for Health Simon Harris to ensure contingency plans were in place in the event there was a closure of the existing cath lab.
“He must also put pressure on his officials in the Department of Health to see progress in expediting the second cath lab for the region, which is now at design stage,” she said.
A cath lab is part of a hospital’s cardiac department, caring for patients with heart disease.
There are around 20 cath labs in Dublin and several more in hospital-based cardiac centres across the country. A cath lab is both an examination and treatment room, which allows diagnostic and interventional procedures to be carried out.
Patients who experience chest pain caused by blockages in the arteries to the heart, or those who need a pacemaker to correct abnormal heart rhythms, are referred there.