Thousands came out in force on Saturday afternoon, campaigning for 24/7 cardiac care at University Hospital Waterford (UHW). The march comes as the government has announced an addition of a new mobile cath lab for Waterford University Hospital, but many are saying that this is not good enough and that 24 hour care is needed for the south-east
Attending the march were many south-eastern citizens who have previously had a bad experience with cardiac care. One of those citizens, John Tobin from Waterford, thanked the Order of Malta Tramore for his being alive, as they were the first responders on the scene when he got into health difficulties. John had to be taken to Cork as there was no cardiac care available in Waterford at the time. Mr Tobin said: “They had the helicopter ready to go but they had to stand down. I had to be put in ambulance and remember; I only had 90 minutes to live.”
He described his feeling of having travel so far and being away from his family, saying: “you’re dealing with information that has come from your doctors, you there on your own, 98 miles away from your family and you have to deal with all this; it’s very hard.”
Also attending the march was retired eye specialist Dr. Patrick Condon, who was previously based at UHW. Dr. Condon said: “We haven’t got what we were promised here by the Higgins report in 2012 and it’s not being implemented. He continued: “if an acute patient comes in to the hospital at night, like what happened last night, they will have to be transferred to Cork.”
A spokesperson for the Southeast Patients Advocacy Group, Hilary O’Neill said: “I would like to thank everyone for coming out today.” Bringing up the old saying ‘your health is your wealth’, she said: “thanks to us in the south-east, our health is not our wealth; it’s the wealth for others. It is very wrong for people to be making money out of the misery and the suffering of citizens in the south-east”. O’Neill
thanked the nurses and doctors who do a “marvellous job” in UHW. In response to the mobile cath lab being offered, O’Neill said: “Yes we do acknowledge that it is a very positive step but it is not going to give us a 24/7 emergency service which is what we were promised and what we are campaigning for.”
The group also pointed out this was initially suggested some time ago by the cardiologist in Waterford but it was turned down. “So why now? Will it materialise and when will it materialise”?