30 Nov 2021

St Luke’s Hospital in Kilkenny is “24 nurses short”

The nursing staff are doing "extra shifts"...

The Clinical Director of St Luke’s in Kilkenny, Professor Gary Courtney, says they are approximately 24 nurses short with the staff having to do “extra shifts”.

A photo emerged online last week of four ambulances queuing outside St Luke's A&E in Kilkenny as there was no room in the hospital for the patients.

Professor Courtney says such incidents are happening "more frequently".

On staffing resources at the hospital, he added: “The staff work very hard. We need the new build and we also need some new nurses. We're 24 nurses or so short and that's a massive problem in that nurses are doing extra shifts."

Speaking to Sue Nunn on The Way It Is on KCLR last Friday about the picture of the ambulances, he said: “That was unusual, but it's happening more frequently now.

“That's called ambulance off-load delay, it's a well-recognised phenomenon when you don't have enough capacity or beds to deal with the number of patients coming in and it would be a common occurrence pretty much every day in Dublin hospitals.

“But it's now happening in the last few months in St Luke's it would happen maybe once every couple of weeks.”

He said: “We have a problem in that Nenagh Hosital used to be an Acute Hospital and has now become a Model 2 and that means quite a lot of patients in North Tipperary would be coming to St Luke's.

“The fabric of the hospital was built in 1948. It's not acceptable anymore to have people in multi-occupancy rooms, sharing toilets.

“We have to build 75 new beds, all single room ensuite, we have that plan in with the HSE. €29 million in cost, we have to have that.

“We will hit 50,000 attendances this year. Limerick which is one of the busiest ED departments in the State and it got a new ED Department worth €25 million sees 64,000.

“We are faced with a huge problem, right across the State. Resources are required and Carlow/Kilkenny patients deserve them.”

The Kilkenny People asked Ireland East Hospital Group, of which St Luke's is a member, were asked for details on the photo of the ambulances queuing up and how long the patients were in the ambulances and what caused the delay.

In a statement, the group said: “St Luke’s General Hospital continues to experience an increase of patients presenting with a variety of complex medical needs.

“Presently Surgical 2 ward which has 30 beds is undergoing an essential maintenance upgrade. This work is scheduled for completion in the coming weeks which will improve bed capacity.

“The management and staff at St Luke's General Hospital Carlow/Kilkenny regret any inconvenience and delay caused to patients while the building works are in progress.”

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