Calls for action on primary care as trolley numbers remain high at St Luke's Hospital in Kilkenny

There are 25 patients on trolleys and wards today according to INMO figures

Sam Matthews

Reporter:

Sam Matthews

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sam.matthews@kilkennypeople.ie

INMO TROLLEYWATCH

Trolley numbers have reduced slightly but remain high at St Luke's in Kilkenny

A local councillor has called for more investment in primary care in light of the ongoing overcrowding crisis at St Luke's Hospital in Kilkenny.

Last week, the hospital was consistently among the worst affected in terms of patients on trolleys and wards, according to figures from the INMO. While the beginning of this week has seen a reduction on that of last week, today's figure of 25 people on trolleys and wards is still at the higher end of the scale.

Local councillor Pat Fitzpatrick says we need to invest properly in primary care facilities to help solve the problem.

"It is fair to say that about 99% of care is delivered at the primary level by well trained, professional health care practitioners, yet this Government only commits around 2% of the annual health budget to primary care," he said.

"It clearly doesn’t make sense. In the UK 9% of the budget is dedicated to primary care, such a level of funding in Ireland would have a transformative effect of the health service."

“The communities I represent across North Kilkenny are in urgent need of proper investment in local medical infrastructure. The development of more primary care centres in county Kilkenny both north and south would allow local people suffering from medical problems to be cared for in their own community where they can build a relationship with their medical advisors at all levels, it would undoubtably improve patient outcomes and importantly, would reduce the pressures being experienced in St Luke’s Hospital presently.”

Cllr Fitzpatrick said the delivery of a world class primary care model is critical if overcrowding in St Luke’s Hospital and other regional hospitals is to be tackled.

“Working to deliver a world class primary care model is so important to the future of health care in this country, I believe that we need to establish a special office tasked with the responsibility of delivering a world class primary care model," he said.

"This office needs to be resourced and made up of the best medical minds currently involved in developing the primary care model. Take it out of the political sphere and allow the experts get on with it.”