St Luke’s Hospital says it regrets that no staff were available to provide a cup of tea to a woman who had just given birth in the hospital this past weekend, but a HSE spokesperson pointed out that tea and coffee facilities are available to patients and their families.
The issue was brought to light by Paula Norton of Kildare, who emailed Today FM’s Ray D’Arcy Show about an incident involving her son’s partner Stacey Haydon of Carlow in St Luke’s Hospital.
She expressed dismay that no staff were on hand to provide a cup of tea to the woman after the birth of her new baby – which Ms Norton described as “the meanest cutback.”
“My son’s partner gave birth to a beautiful baby girl on Saturday evening at 8.11pm at St Luke’s Hospital, Kilkenny. All well, 10 toes, 10 fingers,” she wrote. “I arrived at hospital 40 minutes later and got to meet baby. I asked son had Mum had a cup of tea. Not yet. Midwife pops into cubicle to check all are okay and I asked her for a cup of tea for the new mum. Midwife explains due to cutbacks they have no domestic staff at night to make Mum tea. This has to be the meanest cutback, no one to make a new mum a cup of tea and a slice of toast. Come on!”
The Health Service Executive (HSE) responded in a statement that the hospital regretted that “a staff member was not available to provide a cup of tea/coffee on the night in question.”
“St Luke’s General Hospital for Carlow/ Kilkenny provides a full catering service from 7.45am to 8pm daily,” said the HSE.
“At night, staffing levels across the hospital are lower and, unfortunately, it can be difficult sometimes for staff to provide tea/ coffee to patients during the night when they are busy with other tasks.”
It added that “the out-of-hours catering requirements are being reviewed and every effort is made to accommodate such requests,” and emphasised that tea and coffee are available to patients’ families, even if the tea is not prepared by a member of staff at the hospital.
“At the Maternity Unit in St Luke’s General Hospital there is a partner’s room available with tea/coffee making facilities where a partner/ relative can make a cup of tea /coffee for a mother who has given birth if a staff member is unavailable to do so at the time,” the HSE said.