Fianna Fáil Senator Paschal Mooney says hundreds of lives across Sligo and Leitrim are being put at risk because of the Government’s refusal to commit to a CAT lab at Sligo General Hospital. The facility, which caters for cardiological diagnosis and treatment, was given the green light by the previous Government, but has stalled under the Fine Gael-Labour coalition.
Senator Mooney commented, “This unit has the potential to save hundreds of lives in the North West every year, but after taking up office the current Government has put the project on hold while patients are sent to Altnagelvin Hospital in Derry for treatment. This decision forces patients to travel long distances for procedures, which should be available closer to home, especially when the population base is there to warrant it.
“Health services in the North West have suffered disproportionately under this Government. Waiting lists have reached record levels, the number of people on trolleys in Emergency Departments has escalated dramatically, community services have been downgraded and patients are being exported across the border for important diagnostic services.
“A CATH lab at Sligo General Hospital has the potential to roll out essential services to more than 300,000 people across Sligo, Leitrim, Cavan and Donegal. At the moment patients suffering a cardiac arrest are forced to travel despite the fact that best practice dictates that these people need to be admitted to hospital within a 90 minute window if they are to get the best outcome. The unit would also make significant savings for the State, with estimates suggesting that it has the potential to save €3.6m over a ten year period.
“Minister Leo Varadkar needs to review his predecessor’s decision to put this unit on hold. He can no longer justify stalling on this issue when all the evidence suggests that lives will be saved without any major financial repercussions for the taxpayer. People in the North West have been neglected for too long, the Minister must take action and prioritise this unit in the interests of patient safety”.