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Minister Varadkar shifts goalposts to deny South East 24/7 cardiology services – Cullinane

1 December, 2015 - by David Cullinane TD

Sinn Féin Senator David Cullinane has accused Minister for Health Leo Varadkar of shifting the gaol posts when it comes to cardiology services at University Hospital Waterford.  

Minister Varadkar said that a national review of PPCI centres recommended 24/7 cover for Cork and Galway only, with 9-5 cover for Waterford and that the expansion  of the service in Waterford must be considered from a Hospital Group perspective and in relation to the planning for the cardiology needs of the group population .

Addressing the Minister in the Seanad, Senator Cullinane said:

“24/7 cardiology cover is vital for the people of Waterford and the Southeast. It is unacceptable that University Hospitals in Cork and Galway will have 24 hour PPCI cover but not Waterford.

“This is a clear reneging of a promise made by the previous Minister for Health.

“It also contradicts Minister for State Kathleen Lynch who said in May of this year that a key criterion for deciding whether a 24-hour PPCI service should be provided is volume of appropriate patient activity to ensure the safe provision of the service.

“International best practice indicates a requirement for one PPCI centre per 500,000 to 1 million population.  

“According to recent CSO data, the Southeast has a population close to 500,000 and 11% of the national population. The region has also experienced the highest levels of population growth outside of Dublin since 2006.  

“In this context, Minister Varadkar’s comments about the Hospital Group population being the key criteria constitutes a clear shifting of the goal posts.

“This is very worrying as in the strict sense of the term Hospital Groups do not have populations.

Clearly defined geographical regions where real people live and die have populations.  

“Is UHW no longer serving the regional population? And where does this leave promises made during the hospital reconfiguration process. 

“This is unacceptable and again, it’s second best for Waterford and the Southeast.” 

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