Fianna Fáil TD for Carlow – Kilkenny Bobby Aylward has said that the shameful situation that resulted in the death of a young Waterford man, in his prime, needs to be urgently investigated to ensure that it never happens again.

Following his first Leaders Questions on Tuesday last, Deputy Aylward raised the matter in the Dáil with Taoiseach Varadkar and pointed out that politicians from the South East have been calling for 24/7 cardiac services for years and something must now be done.

Speaking today Deputy Aylward stated, “I want to express my deepest sympathies to the family of the young man who passed away last weekend. This tragedy highlights the critical need for the delivery of 24/7 cardiac care through the development of a second catherisation lab at University Hospital Waterford.

“Current Government policy is based on the now defunct and discredited Herrity Report. Regional Cardiac Consultants have campaigned for a 2nd Cat-Lab with associated 24/7 facilities and have warned of the associated risks. More credence should be afforded to the expertise of such medical personnel and as politicians we must facilitate their views within the decision making process.

“UHW serves a population in excess of 500,000 people across the South East. The Herrity Report severely underestimated the impact of not having 24/7 Cardiac Care in UHW. The idea that we expect critically ill patients who present to UHW outside of Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm to travel to Cork University Hospital is not workable. It’s simply not possible to do this in a quick enough way to maintain patient safety. For example, it can take close to two hours to travel from Mullinavat to Cork University Hospital. This journey takes far too long and puts the lives of patients at risk.

“The Goverment continues to point to the mobile cath lab in their defence but I am concerned that the mobile unit could increase pressure on the existing cardiac services for people in the South – East. Basically there will be more people being diagnosed more quickly but the current laboratory will have limited extra capacity to actually carry out follow up procedures which resulted from these additional angiograms.

“It is projected that 30% of patients would require additional procedures while it is anticipated that a total of 1,500 diagnostic procedures could be carried out in the mobile lab annually. This would result in an additional 450 extra people being added to the waiting lists for cardiac procedures at the existing Cath Lab at Waterford Hospital each year with no extra resource being deployed to the existing cardiac services,” explained Deputy Aylward.

“Let me be absolutely clear: The people of Carlow-Kilkenny and the entire South East deserve 24/7 Cardiac Care at UHW through the establishment of a second full time catherisation lab, and Fianna Fáil will deliver that when in Government,” concluded Aylward.