Councillor Eddie Mulligan, Fianna Fail, is sickened that Waterford’s Government representatives, Minister Halligan and Deputy Deasy, have accepted Minister Simon Harris’s timelines. In relation to last week’s announcement of the National review of Specialist Cardiac Services.

According to Cllr Mulligan, “Minister Harris appears to be speaking out of both sides of his mouth. He has stated in the same press release that “He is committed to ensuring that all Irish citizens have access to safe, high quality and evidence based care, which is in line with international norms”. To me he is achieving this by kicking OUR can down the road. He almost certainly hopes that the region’s 24/7 cardio care will become part of the next Programme for Government. He is quietly clearly prepared to make decisions at detriment to the lives of the people living here, in the South East.

Sadly, we are the only region in Ireland, which is dependent on life saving out of hours emergency cardio intervention, outside the actual region! This is NOT international best practice or the norm. There is a stockpile of well documented evidence, that life threatening and multiple fatal events, demonstrate the obligation for 24/7 emergency cardio care, based here in Waterford, servicing the greater South East. The reality is that we do not need a National report to overrule the flawed and heavily inconsistent Herity Report.”

Whilst Cllr Mulligan welcomed the news, received from his colleague Cllr Jason Murphy that the Regional Health Forum, confirming UHW Cath Lab hours will be extended by 20%, with an additional €1M funding. He believes that the delivery of 24/7 cardio care is a fundamental right for the people.

“Unfortunately, I do think that this National Review is the only documented evidence that will overrule the Herity Report, in the mind of Minister Harris and his departmental colleagues.

The now infamous Herity Report took nine weeks to complete. Yet we now have a National Review with NO confirmed start date, NO interim report dates and a moving finish line, of twelve to eighteen months! It just beggars belief that these timelines can be accepted.

I welcome Professor Nolan’s appointment. However, I feel it is disproportionate that only two of the fifteen other members of the Steering Committee are patients. There should be, at minimal, a patient from every region across the South East. Waterford should be providing both a patient and a clinician, as they can contribute to the process with their unique experiences.”

Summing up, Councillor Mulligan states that a start date needs to be confirmed without delay, given the wide reporting deadlines. Defined interim updates are absolutely necessary within context of the National provisions and deficiencies identified therein. He is also adamant that clinician representation and unique patient experiences, from UHW, should have been a non-negotiable condition, secured by our Government Minister and TD.