Fianna Fáil Waterford City Cllr Gary Wyse has called on the people of Waterford and South East region to fight for the future of Waterford Regional Hospital (WRH) as a major acute hospital.

Cllr Ryan was speaking after attending a meeting organised by consultants in Waterford last night which outlined the plans for the Minister for Health to downgrade WRH to a county hospital.

“The information relayed to all those that attended the meeting was devastating. It is proposed to break-up the hospital structure in the South East and align it with Cork University Hospital.  This is a terrible decision that will have a direct and adverse effect on 500,000 people in the region and I cannot see any sense in this decision. All the hospitals in the South East including Kilkenny, Dungarvan and Wexford are under threat and there will be very serious consequences.

“The Clinical Director at WRH described this proposed move as ‘medical and economic’ disaster for Waterford. This downgrade could cost the hospital as much as 1,000 jobs and the direct impact on people’s health and well-being is frightening.

“The critical time-frame for dealing with a victim of a heart attack is 90 minutes, if a patient has to wait any longer then the chances of survival are drastically cut. If you’re unlucky enough to suffer a heart attack in New Ross, it would be two hours before you could get to Cork to be treated. WRH is only 25 minutes away. There is also a proposal to cut the cancer care program at WRH, this is a shocking prospect for the thousands of cancer patients that are treated on a daily basis at WRH. Waterford is also one of eight specialist cancer centres in the country and cutting these crucial services will put lives in danger.

“The whole South East region and its hospital network will be affected by this reconfiguration, the people of the region must now rally together to impress upon the Minister the dire consequences if it goes ahead. This is bigger than party politics, the people need to fight against the dismantling of these valuable services.

“I am calling on all the Government TDs in Waterford to make representations to the Minister outlining the concerns of the people at these proposals. This decision has not been properly considered because if it was, there is no way you could justify it.

“The people of the South East will not take this lying down, we will fight for our hospital and our vital services.”