Minister has "no plans" to close St Luke's A&E in Kilkenny

He made the comments in a written response...

Darren Hassett

Reporter:

Darren Hassett

Email:

darren.hassett@kilkennypeople.ie

St Luke's Hospital.

St Luke's Hospital in Kilkenny

Sinn Féin's Kathleen Funchion asked the Minister for Health on "the status of the centralisation of trauma units and his plans to close St Luke's Hospital Kilkenny accident and emergency unit".

Minister Harris said: "I have no plans to close the Emergency Department at St Luke's Hospital, Kilkenny.

"In 2015, my predecessor as Minister for Health established a Trauma Policy Steering Group, chaired by Professor Eilis McGovern, to make recommendations in relation to the development of a trauma system for Ireland.

"Patients who have used trauma services and clinicians were at the heart of the development of the plan. The Group has now completed its report and I intend to bring it to Cabinet before the end of the year.

"This is about delivering best outcomes for the small number of patients each year who suffer major trauma, that is, injuries which have the potential to cause prolonged disability or death, and ensuring they get the right care in the right place at the right time."

He was also asked if the review of potential trauma care centre closures is reviewing operations at St Luke's Hospital.

Minister Harris again reiterated: "This is about delivering best outcomes for the small number of patients each year who suffer major trauma, that is, injuries which have the potential to cause prolonged disability or death, and ensuring they get the right care in the right place at the right time.

"Following on from recent media reports, it is important to say that the report is not about closing Emergency Departments or diminishing services. Traumatic injuries may be low, moderate or severe.

"Major trauma involves injuries which have the potential to cause prolonged disability or death.

"Based on available data, it is estimated that Ireland has approximately 1,600 major trauma patients each year. Trauma care is a subset of overall Emergency Department activity.

"Emergency Departments provide 24/7 access for emergency and urgent presentations across the spectrum of medical and surgical conditions with 1,157,074 new Emergency Department attendances in 2016."