HSE to seek tenders for Waterford mobile cath lab

Move comes six months after the new facility was promised by local Minister John Halligan

Minister of State John Halligan. The HSE is to seek tenders for a €1m mobile catheterisation lab in Waterford following a pledge by Mr Halligan. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Minister of State John Halligan. The HSE is to seek tenders for a €1m mobile catheterisation lab in Waterford following a pledge by Mr Halligan. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

 

The Health Service Executive (HSE) is to seek tenders next week for a €1 million mobile catheterisation lab in Waterford – six months after it was promised by local Minister of State John Halligan.

The mobile cath lab is likely to be ready for use at University Hospital Waterford within three months, after HSE director general Tony O’Brien said a “mini-competition” among potential suppliers would be held.

The lab, heralded by Mr Halligan as “a big step forward” when it was announced last January, was agreed following negotiations between the Independent Alliance and Minister for Health Simon Harris.

Mr Halligan had previously made his support for the Government conditional on the provision of a report on cardiac services in Waterford, but this recommended against a permanent second lab.

The cath lab, which treats patients with serious heart problems, will be “temporarily” deployed in Waterford “for a brief period”, Mr O’Brien told the Dáil Public Accounts Committee yesterday.

Waiting list

While the lab had been identified as a ministerial priority, a substantial number of cardiac patients on the waiting list have already been treated in other hospitals, he said.

Over 300 Waterford patients have been treated in public and private hospitals in Cork under an initiative of the South South West Hospital Group. As a result, no patient on the list has been waiting longer than 12 months.

Local Sinn Féin TD David Cullinane said it was most needed late last year, when 580 patients were waiting for cardiac treatment, and before treatment was outsourced to Cork.

He welcomed the go-ahead for the project but said it was not the permanent solution needed as it would be moved in a couple of months.

A cath lab is where angiograms are performed, along with scheduled and emergency stenting.

The absence of a night-time service in the southeast means emergency patients have to be brought by ambulance, or helicopter when available, to Dublin or Cork.