Wednesday, November 13, 2019

MANAGEMENT at University Hospital Waterford (UHW) are being asked to maintain services ‘with one hand tied behind their back’ according to a South Kilkenny County Councillor.

Piltown Municipal District Chair Cllr Eamon Aylward (Fianna Fáil) said “there wasn’t a whole lot of good news” from a meeting held at UHW on October 29, which was attended by Councillors from across the South East along with Hospital Manager Grace Rothwell.

Addressing the district’s November meeting, held in Belview on Wednesday last, Cllr Aylward said the level of resources currently at UHW’s disposal was manifestly impacting on a range of services. Regarding cardiac care at UHW, Cllr Aylward said he had emerged from the meeting with the understanding that “we’re definitely two years-plus away from 24/7 cardiac care at the earliest. We need the second Cath Lab and that isn’t even at the planning stage.”

Labour’s Tomás Breathnach said the significance of the UHW meeting being initiated by the Piltown District was worth noting.

“It was our motion to the Minister (for Health) which requested such a meeting and I believe there was some symbolism in the fact that we chaired the meeting at UHW.

“This is a regional issue and the provision and enhancement of services at the hospital cannot be viewed in any other manner. But when the fifth consultant has been appointed and when they’re working towards the 8am to 8pm (Cath Lab) service seven days a week, that will be a significant improvement because the next step after that is obviously to develop 24/7 cardiac care at the hospital.”

Pat Dunphy of Fine Gael suggested that “the problem is further up the chain with the HSE when it comes to UHW”.

“Just say the HSE were given another €3 billion in its annual budget, would any of that additional money go to (cardiology at UHW) either? We all want 24/7 cardiac care but it seems to be a long way down the road and I didn’t get much hope that we’d have what we want immediately.”

Cllr Ger Frisby (FF) welcomed the presence of Councillors from “right across the region” at the meeting. Councillors have acknowledged Ms Rothwell’s co-operation in facilitating the meeting and hope a further meeting with regional representatives will be hosted by UHW during 2020.

Allegations of parish pump politics regarding future service provision at UHW have been repeatedly rejected by South Kilkenny Councillors. Photo: Joe Evans

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