Dáil Éireann - Volume 450 - 22 March, 1995
Written Answers. - Open Heart Surgery.
Ms Shortall Ms Shortall
84. Ms Shortall asked the Minister for Health when a person (details supplied) in Finglas, Dublin 11 who is awaiting by-pass surgery in the Mater Hospital is likely to receive the necessary surgery; the average time for patients on the waiting list for this surgery in this hospital; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6042/95]
Minister for Health (Mr. Noonan, Limerick East) Michael Noonan
Minister for Health (Mr. Noonan, Limerick East): Open heart surgery operations for adults, including coronary artery by-pass grafts — CABGs — are currently performed for public patients at the national cardiac surgery unit in the Mater Hospital, Dublin, and at Cork University Hospital. I understand the person in question was placed on the waiting list on 18 August 1994. The scheduling of surgery is a matter for the clinical judgment of the consultant concerned, is based solely on the patient's condition and not on the length of time on the waiting list. Emergency cases are given priority.
The need to provide additional facilities for open heart surgery for adults, including by-pass surgery has been recognised for some time and the following steps have been taken to improve the position. In 1993, a sum of £1 million from the waiting list fund was allocated to enable the necessary facilities to be put in place at the national cardiac surgery unit, Mater Hospital, to increase the annual throughput of open heart surgery at the hospital from 750 to 1,000, an increase of 33 per cent. In addition, in 1993 and 1994 funding of  £2.8 million was provided to facilitate the doubling of cardiac surgery at Cork University Hospital from 200 to 400 patients each year.
Over 1993 and 1994, in excess of £2 million revenue and £3.5 million in capital was allocated to the Mater Hospital for cardiac surgery and related developments. The building works associated with this development, which were completed in mid-1994, include additional cardiac maintenance beds, intensive care facilities and high dependency facilities which are required to support the cardiac surgery programme. These new facilities at the hospital have now become operational and the additional cardiac surgery activity has commenced. Additional resources of £200,000 are being provided in 1995 to the Mater Hospital to ensure that the throughput in cardiac surgery in 1995 reaches the target of 1,000 open heart operations per year.
The developments at the Mater Hospital, together with the developments for cardiac surgery at Cork University Hospital which were opened in November 1994 will have the effect of increasing the number of cardiac surgery operations performed on an annual basis in the public hospital sector by 47 per cent from 950 to 1,400. The question of the provision of further additional facilities for cardiac surgery will be considered as sympathetically as possible in the context of the many competing demands for resources throughout the health services.
Dáil Éireann 450 Written Answers. Open Heart Surgery.