The trolley crisis has again worsened at St Luke's General Hospital, despite what seemed to be a shift in the right direction toward the end of last week.
There are 24 patients left on trolleys and wards at the Kilkenny hospital this morning, according to the latest figures from the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO). That's an increase of three people compared to yesterday's overall figure of 21 (11 trolleys and 10 wards).
It's a reversal of what had appeared to be a move in the right direction toward the end of last week, as figures slowly climbed down from a peak. On Friday morning, there were 12 people on trolleys and wards here. That was down from 20 on Thursday, and 30 on Wednesday.
The highest figure of 2017 to date came last Tuesday, when 41 patients lingered on trolleys and wards at the local hospital. St Luke's was one of a number of hospitals nationwide under enormous pressure as the trolley crisis gripped the health service early in the new year, with a record figure of 612 people on trolleys nationally.
The problem has prompted one local councillor to call for increased support and funding for community health care facilities, such as Castlecomer Hospital, in order to address the ongoing health crisis.
“We have seen trolley numbers reach record levels, waiting times in many areas of our health service stretch into years and medical staff, who have been trained here at home are leaving in droves due to poor working conditions,” says north Kilkenny's Cllr Pat Fitzpatrick.
“These problems can be boiled down to one issue; the absolute incapacity of the system to deal with the pressures which currently exist due to an increasing and ageing population. There are solutions, but unfortunately political leadership at Government level and managerial leadership within the HSE are lacking.”
The Fianna Fail councillor says treating patients in the home and in the community is the way forward.
“Supporting existing community health care facilities such as the hospital in Castelcomer is critical to ensuring the crisis is dealt with,” he says.
“We need to establish a primary care centre in each electoral area of Kilkenny - north, south, east and west.