WITH his political future on a knife edge Waterford’s Deputy John Halligan said that he feels “totally betrayed” after the findings of an independent review into the need for a second Cath Lab to provide 24/7 cardiology services at University Hospital Waterford has been deemed unnecessary.
The provision of a second Cath Lab was a critical part of negotiations between Deputy Halligan and his Independent Alliance colleagues in talks to form the Government. An independent review which was conducted by Belfast-based cardiologist, Niall Herity, was expected to confirm the need.
The review has yet to be made public but it is understood to suggest there is no such need and it is understood to also also suggest transferring some specialist services to Cork.
Speaking to the Waterford News & Star Deputy Halligan expressed the belief that the review’s conclusion had been influenced by “outside sources” and he was hugely critical of the fact that the terms of reference for the review were not adhered to.
“The conclusion is fundamentally flawed and I want to know why Mr. Herity felt the need to consult in Cork as part of the review,” he said.
As he prepared to meet his Independent Alliance colleagues to discuss a formal response he said that the Government could get past the present impasse by putting a temporary Cath Lab in place beside the current unit at UHW for a year. That would help get rid of the current backlog and would show without any doubt the need for a permanent Cath Lab in Waterford.
Instead what was offered, he said, was €200,000 to repair the current facility. There was, however, no need for that as €300,000 had been provided and spent on it already. Also on offer was a dedicated orthopaedic unit which was not looked for and an extra cardiac surgeon. “What would he or she do and where would he or she work,” he asked.
Deputy Halligan said that he would have to stand his ground on the issue and when the Government was being formed he said that there was agreement with his colleagues that they would all stand together on issues.
As the fall-out continued Fianna Fail TD, Mary Butler said she welcomed the support of the Fianna Fáil Health Spokesperson, Billy Kelleher TD for the re-instatement of 24/7 Cardiac Care in University Hospital Waterford which is contingent on the opening up of a second catherisation lab in the hospital.
“Fianna Fáil is not in government now, but it is our clear intention to lead the next Irish Government. When in government, we will ensure that cardiac care in Waterford is strengthened and improved,” said Deputy Kelleher.