The board of Saolta University Health Care Group has urged Minister for Health Simon Harris to extend cardiac catheterisation laboratory services at Sligo University Hospital “as soon as possible”.
Dr John Killeen, Board Chairperson, wrote to Minister Harris in September calling for the extension of services and stating the board’s wish was to “progress this service as soon as possible”.
According to the letter, released to the Medical Independent following a Freedom of Information request, no action had been taken to extend cardiac cath lab services in Sligo despite the submission of a business case by the Group in August 2017, which outlined the need for a five-day cath lab service at the hospital.
For elective cases, there is a mobile cath lab unit operating just two days per week in Sligo, but the board considered that an enhanced service was required. Its view is based on the fact that the extension of services was recommended in the HSE North West Cardiology Review Group Report 2013.
There are two cath labs based in Galway, which service the acute cardiac cases for Sligo and the north-west. A national review of specialist cardiac services is ongoing and due to be completed by the end of June 2019. “As set out in the National Development Plan 2018-2027, investment in cardiac catheterisation laboratories and other cardiac services infrastructure nationally will be informed by the outcome of the rational review,” a Department of Health spokesperson said. “The aim of the national review is to achieve optimal patient outcomes at population level with particular emphasis on the safety, quality and sustainability of the services that patients receive by establishing the need for an optimal configuration of a national adult cardiac service,” they added.
“This may consist of regional cardiac networks and network hospitals that are designated as general or comprehensive cardiac centres based on the clinical needs of the population.”
A Saolta spokesperson said the Group’s plan is for three fixed cath labs in Galway and one in Sligo, with a combined cardiology team from Galway, Sligo and Letterkenny providing invasive cardiac services to these four cath labs.