24/7 cardiac care has been one of the biggest issues in the South East for the past decade so it was no surprise that the absence of the mobile cath lab from the hospital wouldn’t escape the attention of one of the campaign groups, notably the South East Patient Advocacy Group who issued the following press release last week about the infamous cath lab on the back of a lorry.
It was brought to our attention this evening that the mobile cath lab at UHW has been removed within the last 2 weeks. This is very concerning given that the main cath lab at UHW is currently shut down to facilitate an equipment upgrade. We had requested an update on the current position from hospital management on the 1st of May and to date we have received no response. This is totally unacceptable and means UHW now has even less diagnostic facilities not to mention NO interventional cardiology services at all whatsoever. The main cath lab was initially to be closed for 12 weeks from early February whilst the equipment upgrade was carried out and it was our understanding that it was due to re-open this week. We need clarification on this very serious situation immediately. Why did our elected representatives not know about this move? Why were they not notified about it? Why did they not bring this to our attention?
It turns out, the Mobile Lab was closed down in February, with the other cardiac catheterisation services being moved to UPMC Whitfield while the cath lab at UHW is being upgraded.
According to UHW manager Grace Rothwell the “service is continuing and is exactly the same service we had in our main Cath Lab albeit it is out the road.”
“The mobile Cath Lab was used three days a week for diagnostics only, not for interventional cardiology, this was introduced for waiting lists not for inpatients or emergency procedures,” Ms Rothwell said. “It had been closed since February and with Covid it would have remained closed for the foreseeable future at significant cost. Focus now is on getting contractors on site to finish the upgrade in the main lab and we will have two full labs available.”
Fine Gael Senator John Cummins has been monitoring the progress of the second cath lab and received the following information from the Minister for Health.
“HSE Estates are responsible for the delivery of healthcare infrastructure projects and they have advised that subsequent to the Government announcement (on 01/05/2020), it is their intention to start re-engaging with design teams and contractors in the coming weeks, which will enable them to proceed with the second cath lab at UHW. The Estates unit in the Health Service Executive is currently tasked with the delivery of additional capacity (infrastructure and equipment) nationwide in the effort for the containment and prevention of the spread of the Coronavirus – COVID-19. Work has been focused on this key task.”