Fianna Fáil TD for Carlow – Kilkenny Bobby Aylward says he has serious concerns following an admission by Minister for Health Simon Harris that he is unable to provide further detail on the proposed mobile cath lab for Waterford University Hospital.

Deputy Aylward commented, “It’s been two weeks now since Minister Halligan announced a mobile cath lab for the South East. However details surrounding this mobile unit are scarce and the Government has been unable to confirm if the unit will be made exclusive for people living in the South East.

“The management team at Waterford Hospital need to know how the mobile cath unit will operate. Will it be assigned specifically to the hospital, or will it have to provide services at other hospitals too? There are questions that need to be answered. People want to know if it will be available on a 24 / 7 basis and the number of patients it is estimated that the unit can cater for on an annual basis.

“I have put these questions to the Government both verbally on the floor of the Dáil and in written form through the use of parliamentary questions. However we are still in the dark regarding the capabilities of this mobile cath unit. Obviously any measure which will assist in reducing current cardiac waiting lists is to be welcomed. However we need to know if this unit will actually have a measurable effect on the current waiting lists. 700 people are currently stuck on waiting lists, with many of these waiting more than two years for vital heart procedures such as angioplasty.

“The only thing that I have been able to get clarity on is that the Director General of the HSE expects that further details will be made available in the coming weeks. You would be forgiven for assuming that Minister Halligan jumped the gun when announcing the mobile cath lab. His cabinet colleague Minister Harris seems to have been caught completely off guard on this issue. He has had to seek further clarity from HSE management.

“All of this deflects from the overarching need for a 2nd permanent cath lab, working 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This is a top priority for all local TDs based in the South East and I will continue to fight for this service alongside my colleagues,” concluded Deputy Aylward.