Sinn Féin Senator David Cullinane has said some services at Waterford Regional Hospital are at breaking point following recent cuts to funding for local and regional hospitals. He said the 3% cut to overall funding at Waterford Regional Hospital is stretching services to breaking point and will result in a devastating reduction in vital services.
Speaking following a meeting with the hospital’s clinical directors Senator Cullinane said:
“The government’s one fits all approach to reducing health spending is wrong. It is not targeting real waste in the system and is impacting on front line services. It is penalising efficiency and rewarding inefficiency. The cuts to Waterford Regional Hospital’s budget this year will force hospital management to cut back on vital services. The overall funding for the hospital this year is €145m. St Vincent’s Hospital in Dublin receives €215m despite having less inpatient and outpatient activity.
“Services such as cardiology, surgery, critical care and chronic pain relief are at risk. Surgical wards may close and procedures routinely cancelled. Staff cutbacks and bed reduction will also have an impact on patient care. The very existence of the hospitals regional status is under threat if corrective action is not taken.
“We need to see a real re-configuration of hospital services in the Southeast. Our regional hospital must specialise in complex acute services such as neurology, cancer care, vascular surgery, endocrinology and cardiology. A fragmentation of services in the region threatens the viability of such services and increases the threat of losing them to hospitals in Cork and Dublin. This would be a disaster for Waterford and the Southeast region.
“It is a disgrace that Waterford Regional Hospital does not have 24/7 interventional cardiology care. The current five day service is insufficient and puts lives at risk. The region needs a specialised 24/7 cardiology service. This requires a second Cath Lab and the appointment of at least two cardiologists to Waterford Regional. The hospital currently has two cardiologists and carried out 2,452 procedures last year. St Vincent’s University Hospital has six yet only carried out 1,740 procedures.
“This is an issue where politicians across the region need to unite. We need to ensure that we have a network of hospitals across the region working in tandem and delivering appropriate services. We need to ensure that Waterford Regional Hospital provides what a regional hospital should provide, complex acute services. Failure to do so threatens the continuation of such services in the region.” ENDS