A cardiologist at the Mid-Western Regional Hospital, Dooradoyle, Limerick, has criticised a HSE decision to treat certain heart attack victims from Limerick at Galway's acute hospital.
Dr Brendan Meany said the movement of any type of heart attack victim is fraught with difficulties.
He said the sooner they are treated at an emergency hospital closer to them, the better the outcome for the patient.
Dr Meany's criticism comes following a move by the HSE to treat patients who suffer a Stemi heart attack out-of-hours or at weekends at a new specially equipped centre in Galway University Hospital.
A Stemi is not a case of cardiac arrest, and anyone suffering a cardiac arrest will continue to be treated on a 24/7 basis in Limerick.
A Stemi is caused by a blockage in the arteries and needs what is known as PPCI treatment, which can only be provided at a hospital equipped with an emergency 24-hour cath lab.
Currently, this can only be provided in Limerick between the hours of 8am-5pm because of staff shortages.
A HSE statement said it is currently working on improving cardiac care throughout the country by providing patients with quick access to higher level investigations and treatment.
It is anticipated that Limerick will become a 24-hour centre for Stemi patients within the next few weeks.
Dr Meany, one of a number of cardiologists who works in Limerick, said the specialist after-hours service could be provided at the Dooradoyle hospital if ancillary staff, such as a radiographer and extra nurses, are provided.
He said he had grave concerns about the transport of heart attack victims when vital time is lost making long trips to Galway.