Urgent action needed on 24/7 Cardiac Care for UHW

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Reacting to the announcement that the Rescue 117 helicopter will no longer transfer cardiac care patients from Waterford to Cork University Hospital, Waterford Chamber CEO Gerald Hurley said: “We are well past the time for talking now. What we need is action in the form of 24/7 cardiac care implemented in University Hospital Waterford without delay. Nobody can blame the Irish Aviation Authority for this decision. It certainly comes as no surprise considering the important work they are tasked to do on a daily basis. In effect, by relying on their service to transfer patients you are fundamentally putting other lives at risk and pilots cannot be expected to juggle between search-and-rescue operations and inter-hospital patient transfers while on rescue patrol.

“What is staggering is when you look at the costs in its most basic forms, the case for 24/7 Cardiac Care seems obvious. There are five helicopters operated by the Coast Guard, the service costs the state €68 million annually, so that’s €13.6 million for the Waterford service alone. This figure increased with a high volume of hospital transfers. The additional running cost of a 24/7 Regional Cardiac Care Service at UHW has been assessed at €2.9 million per annum. It couldn’t be clearer.

“The task of inter-hospital transfer lies with the Air Corps. They have a shortage of air crafts available. They will now step in, in the short term, to provide over night transfers. One has to ask is this for real? When is this going to end? The week begins with the news the cath lab is on the way, the following day the air transfers are terminated. It’s one step forward, two steps back. We are calling on the Government and the Minister for Health to put 24/7 Cardiac Care at the top of their agenda without delay. The lives of 500,000 people in this region matter.”



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