FILE PIC: There's an unseasonably high number of patients on trolleys this past week
St Luke’s General Hospital in Kilkenny has been consistently among the most overcrowded hospitals in the country during the past week, according to figures from Trolleywatch.
Today, there are 33 patients waiting on trolleys and wards at the local hospital - up from 32 yesterday. This day last week, the figure was 40 people. That had dropped to 19 by the weekend, but rose steadily again this week.
These sorts of figures, recorded by the INMO, are almost unheard of for this time of the year - late July and August. A number of reasons have been offered for the unseasonable spike.
Most significantly, almost 30 beds have been closed in the local hospital’s Surgical One ward. The HSE has said this is for maintenance works and refurbishment as part of infection control policies.
A high number of presentations to the Emergency Department last week also contributed to the overcrowding problem.
A statement from the Ireland East Hospital Group said that staff and management at St Luke’s General Hospital put patient care at the centre of everything that they do. It says the hospital is very busy, and St Luke’s apologises to anyone waiting on beds.
“Due to the current ongoing pressures, we continue to ask the public to please ensure that, when possible, they attend their GPs or CareDoc in the first instance,” said the statement.
“The hospital management would like to thank the general public for their ongoing support of the hospital and current refurbishment works.”
Work to enable compliance with the standards for the prevention and control of healthcare associated infections began in the Surgical 1 ward in July, closing 29 beds.
This work is expected to be completed by September 30. To minimise the impact, 14 refurbished beds have been opened in the former gynaecological ward area.
Year-on-year, the number of emergency presentations to St Luke’s has increased. Similarly, the number of emergency medical admissions increased by 6.8% during 2016, however the actual inpatient bed capacity had not increased until the opening of the 14 beds above in July.