Friday, November 2, 2012

Notes from WRH meeting tonight 1/11/12

Meeting opened by Mr Gordon Watson - expressed disappointment at no-show from all four Waterford TD's. He outlined SE region almost completely self sufficient. Only cardio thoracic and brain surgery referred out of region. WRH very large hospital - bigger than St. Vincent's or Mater or Tallaght hospitals! Cork/Dublin already overcrowded.

All SE hospitals j...ust 40/50 mins apart. If SE region broken there will be less than 500k population - not enough critical mass to justify regional services like cancer centre etc. Job and service losses will ensue even if that's not the immediate intent.

Proposal is for a unified management board for all SE hospitals required to deliver even better services as the South East Hospitals network.

Reconfigurations cost money. WRH is a teaching hospital of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland and hassle memorandum of understanding signed between WIT, RCSI & WRH. V important.

With Coronary treatment - time is crucial. Coronary angioplasty is the optimum treatment provided by cath labs. For best result it needs to occur within 90 mins of heart attack . 90% success rate. National plan says this should be in Waterford 24/7 but it currently operates only 9-5 Mon/Fri! Don't have heart attack outside those times!!! Serious doubts about extension to 24 hr service if region gone and/or competing with Dublin or Cork for resources.

WRH already produces a lot despite historical under resourcing! Prof John Higgins appointed as Chairman of newly appointed Hospitals Restructuring board in June. Board only met for first time in October!! Higgins did his own work in interim with no board imperative! It's his report that is causing all the concern as it has been leaked that it proposes the break up of the SE region.

WRH cancer centre has been commended by HIQA. Why abandon and ignore existing resources in time of economic difficulty?

Memorandum of understanding has been signed between WIT & RCSI. SE population will lose out on healthcare. Decision not yet made. Higgins report due on ministers desk shortly and then to cabinet perhaps before Christmas. Without SE region kilcreene will go. Dr Rob Landers Clinical Director of WRH stated that - if Prof Higgins report is enacted it will be a disaster for SE! Must do everything possible to prevent it.

Senators David Cullinane & Maurice Cummins in attendance. South Tipperary giving full support to WRH proposal. Can't say same true for Carlow/Kilkenny on basis of the say of just 1 or 2 or 3 senior consultants in one hospital in Kilkenny (St. Lukes). Without them - Carlow Kilkenny - the region is weakened and vulnerable to predation. Huge majority of consultants in SE in favour of WRH proposal. Tipp & Wexford on side. Issue in Kilkenny. Doctors in Kilkenny met WRH consultants last night. Support there. Simon Cross - vascular surgeon stated when 'vine withers' they'll be told to move to Cork. Far worse outcomes for SE population. That'll be first thing to go. With 3 vascular surgeons must have minimum 500k population.

Take home pay of hospital workers in city €140m into local economy. Why dismantle something that's functioning very well?

Rob landers - clinical director for cancer care in SE said definitively if this goes ahead and region broken up cancer care will be decimated and cancer care unit will be shut down.

Sen Maurice Cummins spoke - first heard rumours last thurs in Leinster Hs! Contacted Minister Reilly & met him on Wednesday (yesterday). Also met with Waterford & Wexford consultants and TD Paul kehoe in New Ross last Monday. At meeting with Minister yesterday - he (the Minister) gave no commitments. He expects to have draft proposal on 7th and final report on 15th November! Strong possibility decision made before Xmas!!!

Kilkenny has not signed up to SE doc - despite some consultants in KK supporting it. Susan o Reilly (?) head of cancer care in Ireland is very against break up of region. Link to RCSI cannot be over emphasised and with WIT.

HSE South management position is to maintain SE region - he believes. More need for reconfiguration in Dublin than in regions. Senator Cummins & Deputy Conway meeting Min Howlin in Wexford tomorrow. Wexford being promised things from Dublin (?). Kilkenny - one consultant is leading breakaway (probably unbeknownst to general population)! Need to tie down Wexford. Need to convince Kilkenny. Last parish in north of KK closer to Waterford than Dublin! Workers need to lobby politicians. KK GPs had been misled. (end of Senator Cummins contribution which I thought was excellent and left room to hope!?)

Gordon Watson - we need to get message out to south east through politicians and everyone else. Cllr Tom Cunningham - concerned everything based on cross of Dublin Cork Galway & Belfast....?!?!?!?!? (Total opposite of what he argued at amalgamation debate.)

Claire Mahony National President of Nursing & Midwifery - huge cuts coming. Applaud surgeons on stepping out on this issue - need to convince citizens.

Dr Tom Higgins if we want to keep together we need to woo colleagues in Kilkenny Carlow. Plus Wexford are iffy.

Henry Maloney - what we have we must hold. Does average person know what's happening? No. Need to get unions on board. Badger the politicians.

Prof McWade from RCSI - WRH is a dedicated teaching hospital.

Daragh Brennan a GP in Waterford - need to convince GPs in region - we need to talk to them. RCSI/WIT link very important - depth of links need to be known. WRH needs to articulate what's good about hospital also not just risks.

Donie Ormond- if we lose this battle WRH will revert back to a general hospital.

Rena Mulcahy - these meetings need to be replicated in Wexford and KK Carlow. Change name of Waterford reg hospital to SE reg hospital? Calling for action. Wider steering group. Lobby local & national & regional reps. Get word out on street. Let's work together as a region to drive SE agenda to save the level of services we have.

Fred Jackson - St Luke's appear to be fearful that their acute services could be gobbled up - Waterford couldn't accommodate their work. Anyway how can they guarantee they'd survive in Dublin link? Need to reassure St Lukes that WRH has no designs on downgrading KK or Wex hospitals.

Three critical messages - Gordon Watson: (1) call on ppl of SE and let them know what they'll lose. (2) Get wider representation to lobby/steer and (3) We are an academic institution.