Frustration is growing in Kilkenny over ongoing delays in publishing a report on the future of the Emergency Department at St Luke's General Hospital.
The report, which is being carried out by the National Steering Group, is to examine emergency services at a number of hospitals across the country. It was initially to have been published at the end of last year, but was delayed until 'early' this year — and there has been little word since.
The matter was raised by local TD Bobby Aylward recently, by means of a Parliamentary Question to Minister for Health Simon Harris.
“Unfortunately, the reply I received from Minister Harris is non-committal and he has kicked the issue to touch by saying he has to await the publication of a report by the Trauma Steering Group,” Deputy Aylward told the Kilkenny People.
“Last summer, the Minister indicated that the group's report and recommendations would be furnished by the end of 2016. In December, the Minister revealed that the report would be delayed until early 2017 — but we are into March now and there is still no sign of this report or any indication as to when we will see it published.”
The Fianna Fail TD says that people in Kilkenny and right across the south-east remain concerned about the local hospital. It has previouslybeen reported on a number of occasions that the steering group could recommend the downgrading of services there — something which Deputy Aylward says can not be allowed to happen.
“The Minister has a responsibility to put pressure on the National Steering Group to report in a timely manner so that people's minds are put at ease,” he says.
“Such exorbitant delays on reports, which affect the lives of so many people, cannot simply be shelved for months on end. It is unacceptable.
“I firmly believe that the availability of major trauma care needs to be retained at St Luke's. This is something which I will be monitoring closely over the coming months.”