Yesterday a young man by the name of Thomas Power was buried in Ballygunner, County Waterford. He has left behind a grieving wife, Bernadette; a mother, a father and two sisters, as well as a broader community of family, friends and neighbours. The previous Sunday, not feeling well, he had driven to University Hospital Waterford. He was subsequently transferred by ambulance to Cork but died on the road near Dungarvan. The case raises many questions. I do not know the Power family and do not want to add to their grief by raising this issue, but I would absolutely be failing in my duty if I did not highlight the case because the broader issue of the provision of cardiac services in the south east, including Wexford, Kilkenny, south Tipperary and Waterford, needs to be addressed. There are many questions that need to be asked, both in the context of the individual case and the broader issue. Was Mr. Power seen by a consultant who had travelled in the ambulance when he was being dispatched to Cork and were all protocols followed in the normal procedure of transferring a patient? That is the issue that really needs to be addressed in the individual case, of which there has to be a full clinical review.
We need to get to the bottom of it. We have to learn from this tragedy. It must not have been in vain.
Of course, the broader issue is the provision of a 24-hour catheterisation laboratory, cath lab, service, as well as broader cardiac services, in Waterford. Last year there was a commitment given by the Minister to review percutaneous coronary intervention, PCI, and primary percutaneous coronary intervention, PPCI, services across the country. The Herity report assessed the need for cardiac services in Waterford and found that there was no need for 24/7 cardiac services, yet many clinicians on the front line there in providing life-saving care on a daily basis have stated publicly and to me privately that patients will die if cardiac services are not available 24/7 in Waterford. Tragically, we saw that unfold on Sunday evening outside Dungarvan.
I will ask the Tánaiste a number of questions. Will she ensure there will be a full clinical review of the tragic case of Mr. Power? Will she also accept that there is now a need to address the fact that there is a deficiency in the provision of cardiac services in Waterford that is costing lives? Does she accept that there is a need for a full review and the prioritisation of the delivery of 24/7 cardiac services in Waterford as soon as possible?