Fianna Fail TD for Waterford, Mary Butler has said that the death of a 39 year old man in an ambulance, en route to Cork University Hospital, following a cardiac incident, has brought into sharp focus the lack of 24/7 Cardiac Care in the South East, and requires an immediate and independent review of the case.

“This death has come as a shock to those of us living in Waterford, but it hasn’t come as a surprise. Those of us who have been campaigning for 24/7 Cardiac Care, including the delivery of a second catherisation lab, have warned for years about the dangers of transporting patients, after hours, to Cork for treatment.

“Answers are needed to some basic, yet important, questions.

“Who made the decision to transfer the patient to CUH? Was he seen by a consultant while at UHW? Was he in a stable state before a decision to transport him was made? Did a doctor travel with him to Cork?

“The National Review into Cardiac Care needs to be sped up, and a report on services must be delivered to the Minister as soon as possible.

“The people of the South East cannot be left waiting any longer for 24/7 Cardiac Care. The clear evidence is that a second catherisation is not only required, but essential to the delivery of safe, quality cardiac care in Waterford.

“The Herrity Report’s recommendations can no longer be used by the Minister to justify not delivering 24/7 Cardiac Care at UHW. The terms of reference were, I believe, flawed, and the recommendations generated on foot of these do not do justice to the needs of the people of the South East.

“Minister Harris must recognise that transporting critically ill patients from UHW to CUH in less than 90 mins is not possible. This is the maximum time that should be expended not the minimum.

“The initial cost of delivering 24/7 Cardiac Care at UHW is €4.6M with €2M annual running costs. This is a small amount of funding compared to the massive amount of anxiety and worry that has overtaken the people of Waterford.

“I am in no doubt that this poor man’s life could have been saved if there had been 24/7 Cardiac Care available at University Hospital. Forcing sick people to travel all the way to Cork is neither fair nor safe,” concluded Butler.