Wexford & Tipperary teams call on supporters to join ‘Hand on Heart’ at Sunday’s Match

The Wexford and the Tipperary hurlers will put rivalry aside on Sunday (April 16th) and join together to place their hand on their hearts in solidarity in a call for health equality for the people of the Southeast.

The Hand on Heart campaign highlights the present lack of 24/7 cardiac care within the southeast region and is a call on government to a second Cath lab at University Hospital Waterford with the provision of 24-hour cardiac care for the region. At present the South East is the only region in the country that doesn’t have a 24-hour service.




The teams are asking supporters at the match in Nowlan Park on Sunday to join them in placing their hands on heart during the playing of the national anthem to demonstrate support for this campaign. 1 of 3 heart patients at University Hospital Waterford hail from Wexford and 1 in 5 heart patients at UHW hail from Tipperary.

The Cardiac Cath Lab at University Hospital Waterford (UHW) serves the southeast region but only operates from Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm. All other regions have 24/7 care and have access to more than one Cath lab; a permanent second cath lab for UHW is needed for the health and safety of the people of the Southeast.


The Cardiac Cath Lab at University Hospital Waterford (UHW) serves over 500,000 people across the southeast. Many patients within this region who suffer heart attacks after 5pm cannot access a Cath Lab in UHW or anywhere else within the 90-minute recommended time. This can result in catastrophic health outcomes and possibly death, due to failure to receive the appropriate interventional care in the recommended time. At present patients in the south east region who cannot access a Catheterisation Lab within the required 90 minutes are forced to undergo a 2nd grade treatment in their local hospital which is effective in only 45% of cases. Success rates for those treated for coronary blockage in a Cardiac Cath Lab have a 95% successful outcome. This care is presently being given at UHW and could be given on a 24 hr basis  if this service was funded to provide out of hours cover.


UHW Cardiac Cath Lab is the single most efficient public Cath Lab in Ireland doing complex cardiac interventional procedures. Fact! Yet it is only resourced and funded to operate 37 hours per week.


Last year the Cath Lab at University Hospital Waterford dealt with over 3,500 heart procedures despite the restricted operating hours. The Cardiac Cath Lab at UHW is the most geographically accessible centre for emergency patients in the southeast. Despite all this, the HSE is not willing to fund further expansion of the service. It prefers to direct patients to other centres up to 130 miles away which is putting patients’ lives at risk. A review which is presently slated to be complete by mid summer this year is expected to recommend the shutting down of the daytime emergency cardiac access mandating all patients suffering heart attack be treated in Cath Labs in either Cork or Dublin.

The people of the Southeast have been fighting since 2012 for a permanent second Cath Lab for UHW since the Higgin’s report was published and the people of the region were at that time promised the delivery of a second Cath Lab by the Department of Health.


Since that point Dr Niall Herity, a consultant based in Belfast, was tasked with conducting a review by Minister for Health Simon Harris. The Herity report, which was commissioned to evaluate the cardiac service provision in the South East, has been widlely criticised in its methodology and findings, but has been unquestioningly adopted as government policy. The conclusions of Dr. Niall Herity are at odds with the opinions of senior regional consultants including the sitting Clinical Director of South West Hospital Group at the time Professor Rob Landers, who expressed his shock and dismay by the conclusions of that review. The consultant cadiologists from the Southeast have also said that they “utterly reject” the findings of the review into the potential need for a second catheterisation lab, which specialises in examining the heart, at University Hospital Waterford (UHW).


The campaigners behind the ‘Hand on Heart’ initiative rolled out by the volunteers behind Health Equality for the Southeast who include Keith Barry, Davy Fitzgerald, Brian Cody, Austin Gleeson, Michael Ryan, Davy Russell, TJ Reid, Henry De Bromhead and many more are calling on the people of the region to join them in lobbying their local politicians, talking about and demonstrating the call for 24/7 cardiac care for the Southeast and joining the social media campaign at www.facebook.com/healthequityfse in order to bring as much attention as possible to the need for Health Equality for the people of the South East. Their call has been supported by 245 regional GPs and 116 regional consultants who have written publicly in support of the service.

For further information see www.hefse.com


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