Fianna Fáil Senator Jennifer Murnane O’Connor says lives are being put at risk by the Government as a result of its failure to invest in cardiac care services at University Hospital Waterford.

Senator Murnane O’Connor made the comments in the Seanad following the tragic death of a patient who was forced to travel to Cork University Hospital after suffering a heart attack.

Senator Murnane O’Connor said, “This case is truly shocking and clearly highlights the deficiencies in our cardiac care services in the South – East. The Government has been warned time and time again that the lack of a 24 hour cardiac care service at University Hospital Waterford is putting lives at risk.

“It makes no sense to force people in the South – East to travel to Cork for emergency cardiac care from 5pm onwards or at weekends. It can take up to two hours to travel from many parts of the South – East to Cork. This journey is far too long for people who are already suffering a life threatening heart attack. Some 170,000 people, including many in Carlow, are more than 90 minutes away from an acute cardiac service.

“The Higgins expert group report highlighted the dangers of using the 90 minute mark as a target for the delivery of cardiac care services. The report recommended that University Hospital Waterford continue to provide cardiac care service and for further investment to take place. The Government needs to take on board these recommendations.

“Fianna Fáil has made it clear that we will invest in cardiac services in Waterford. We will bring back a 24 hour service and will open a second cath lab as is clearly needed. Fianna Fáil stands by this commitment,” concluded Senator Murnane O’Connor.