Saturday, 18th November 2017
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Hurling Legends lend a helping 'Hand On Heart'

Health Equality For the South East (HEFSE) carried out a 'Hand On Heart' activation event in Waterford city, Saturday, 28th October. Hurling legends Derek McGrath and Ken McGrath joined HEFSE and members of SEAPAG and 24/7 Cardiac Care for the South East campaign groups in launching the event.

Also attending were cardiac trainers and responders from Civil Defense and local Ambulance and Healthcare services who were busy giving demonstration of emergency cardiac resuscitation (CPR) to young and old! 'Hand On Heart' volunteers also collected over 1000 signatures in 3 hours to a 'declaration of voting intent' which signals support or otherwise at the next general election based on the outcome of the review of 24/7 Cardiac Care in the Southeast region.

A significant number of tourists on street in the city were said by 'Hand On Heart' volunteers to be appalled when told there was no cardiac cover available in the region or city for the next three days. One Dublin resident who has been offered a high-level job in Waterford and was in the process of house hunting described the cardiac situation as a 'game changer' for him of which he was unaware - he will 'not be moving his family into an area where such a fundamental service is unavailable' he said. PRO for HEFSE Matt Shanahan said, 'this is not a unique reaction - We are aware of other families living with vulnerable health situations who have recently moved out of the region because of their anxiety over cardiac access.'

Asked how the campaign to secure a 24/7 service was progressing he said that 'despite the significant activity now being delivered with the addition of the temporary mobile cath lab, my understanding is the emergency waiting list to access the main lab for stenting and other critical procedures is still rising! These cannot be done in the temporary lab' he said.

'Despite all the recent activity in paying to move patient procedures out of the region we will soon yet again, be back to having the 'longest' cardiac waiting lists in the country! We need a second permanent Cath lab and the additional permanent staff to operate it before we will see any meaningful improvement in the Southeast regional cardiac service' he said. The Dept of Health's continuing efforts to massage the numbers and move patients out of the South East region including patients from South Tipperary and South Kilkenny is costly in both health economics and health outcomes'. 'This situation does not and would not stand in any other region - that is the message we are sending and will continue to send to Government and Opposition TDs. If they cannot hear the people now they will certainly hear them at the next election.'

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