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Cullinane calls for urgent action on cardiac care in the South East

4 July, 2017 - by David Cullinane TD

Sinn Féin TD for Waterford Deputy David Cullinane has called for urgent action to address the deficit in emergency cardiac care in the South East. He said the untimely and unnecessary death of the late Thomas Power has tragically brought it home to people that this is a life and death issue. 

Deputy Cullinane was speaking before an Oireachtas briefing he is co-hosting with Deputy Mary Butler. The briefing will be addressed by relatives of the late Thomas Power, a group on behalf of regional consultants and regional campaign groups. Deputy Cullinane also published the text of a motion in which he is seeking all-party support. 

Speaking today, Deputy Cullinane said:

“I welcome the family of the late Thomas Power to Leinster House. Thomas presented himself to University Hospital Waterford with cardiac complications and was sent by ambulance to Cork. 

“The emergency cardiac unit at the hospital was closed at the time as it only operates a limited 9-5 Monday to Friday service. If 24/7 emergency cardiac services was available Thomas would have been seen immediately. Instead he died in an ambulance 30 minutes outside of Waterford. 

“Regional consultants previously warned that the lack of full 24/7emergency cardiac care in the South East would lead to the loss of life. Their calls fell on deaf ears. 

“Today, the people of the South East are mobilising in big numbers and are sending a clear message to this Government - no more obfuscation and fudge. Promises of more reviews without a proper terms of reference or clear time scales is not acceptable. 

“Today, I am publishing the text of a Dáil motion. I am seeking all-party support for the motion. The call to move a motion has been made by all regional campaign groups. The best way to proceed is on the basis of consensus. However there can be no consensus if fudge and delaying tactics is the order of the day. 

“I welcome the cross party nature of today's briefing. I welcome the community based mobilisation outside Leinster House. We need a strong, united, but urgent political response. Sinn Féin will support such a response and stand ready to work with Government and opposition to deliver this vital service for the South East region.” ENDS

Note: Please see the draft Dáil motion below

That Dáil Éireann notes:

• The publication in 2012 of a Model of Care for Acute Coronary Syndrome to standardise treatment of patients suffering from heart attack in its different forms in this state;

• The publication in February 2013 of a Government report 'The Establishment of Hospital Groups as a transition to Independent Trusts' otherwise known as the Higgins Report;

• That the Higgins Report recommends that University Hospital Waterford continue to provide invasive cardiology services for the South East population  

• The Programme for Government committed to the development of a second Cath Lab at UHW subject to a favourable recommendation from an Independent Clinical review

• The Publication of a report entitled 'Independent Clinical Review of Provision of a Second Catheterisation Laboratory at University Hospital Waterford' otherwise known as the Herity Report:

Further notes:

• That the Herity Report calls for the current limited hours provision of Primary PCI at UHW cease entirely:

• That this would result in all emergency cardiac patients in the Southeast having to travel to hospitals in Cork and Dublin for treatment 

•The inadequacy of the current Air Ambulance service to meet the need of patients in the South East 

• the demand from local and regional clinicians for 24/7 PPCI to be delivered at UHW for patients in the region

And therefore calls on the Government to:

• Immediately initiate a second Independent review into provision of cardiac care in the South East 

• That this review commence its work within 6 weeks of the passing of this motion 

And that the terms of reference for this regional review:

• is framed in the context of existing regional policy 

• is Independent and based on clinical and medical need and underpinned by the National Clinical Programme 

• consults widely and appropriately with regional clinicians and medical experts

• is based on the actual population of the South East and not an arbitrary effective catchment population

• is cognisant of the range of travel time to hospitals outside the region and not simply the average time 

• respects the status of University Hospital Waterford as a regional hospital providing a regional cardiac service

• identifies need and capacity based on the geographical area the hospital serves - namely the population of the South East

• delivers on the commitment in the Higgins Report that UHW continues to provide interventional cardiac care to patients in the South East

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