Thomas Walsh, Fine Gael Local Area Representative, has welcomed a reply to him from the Minister for Health, Simon Harris T.D. in relation the National Review of cardiac services confirming there will be a particular emphasis on the safety and quality of the services and ensure that they are in line with international best practice.
Minister Harris stated “One of the aims of the Review is to set out the optimal service configuration of a national adult specialist cardiac service based on the clinical needs of the population. Any proposals arising from the Review will therefore place particular emphasis on the safety and quality of the services and ensure that they are in line with international best practice and standards.
Thomas Walsh stated “We are very well geographically situated in Sligo for a Cardiac Centre in terms of catchment population. The Centre would serve the needs of the people of Sligo, Leitrim, North Roscommon, North Mayo, West Cavan and South Donegal. It would also have capacity to serve West Fermanagh and North Donegal.
"Where a patient arrives in Sligo with a complete blockage of an artery a patient is fast tracked and transferred to Galway in most cases via helicopter where possible. (when there is one available and when flying conditions are suitably. This in many cases happens outside International standards. Primary percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) is the preferred coronary strategy, and should take place within 120 minutes of the time when fibrinolysis could have been given.
"Nationally there are currently cardiac centres in Galway, Dublin, Cork, Waterford, Limerick and Derry. It is currently costing €330,000 per annum for the current mobile angiography unit which visits Sligo weekly. The transport cost of transporting cardiac patients from Sligo via ambulance and helicopter is €220,000 per year.
"In short over a 10 year period there would be a net saving of investment in a CATH lab in Sligo to the health service of €3.6million.This does not include the cost of accommodating patients who are awaiting transfer to other hospitals in Dublin or Galway at a cost of €1000 per bed per day.
Approval for a Cardiac Catheterisation Lab at Sligo would not only result in an enhanced quality of service for cardiac patients but also result in a reduction of numbers of patients on trolleys at Sligo University Hospital by freeing up the much needed beds”.
Minister Harris advised “In terms of a timeframe, the Steering Group is currently finalising its project plan but it is anticipated that the Review will take between 12 and 18 months, which is necessary to ensure that a comprehensive and robust Review takes place.
The National Review will consult with the public and relevant stakeholders – including a call for submissions; identifying international best practice; carrying out a number of site visits; and, analysing data on existing services and populations”.