40 patients were on trolleys and wards at St Luke's Hospital in Kilkenny yesterday

Figures suggest a return to overcrowding levels seen at peak of Flu season earlier this year

Sam Matthews


Sam Matthews



Trolley watch

'Everything possible is being done to reduce delays for patients waiting on bed spaces'

There were 40 patients on trolleys and wards at St Luke's General Hospital yesterday (Tuesday), according to figures from the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO).

The figures represent a return to the levels of overcrowding seen during January and early February, at the height of the Flu season.

A statement from the Ireland East Hospital Group said that St Luke's General Hospital Carlow/Kilkenny is continuing to experience 'a high number of patients attending ED with a variety of complex healthcare needs'.

"Everything possible is being done to reduce delays for patients waiting on bed spaces and ensuring that patients no longer requiring hospital care are discharged in a timely and appropriate manner," it said.

Nationally, the HSE has said that all hospitals have had an extremely challenging time since early last week due in no small way to the adverse weather conditions. Many hospitals are reporting significant congestion.

Meanwhile, local TD Kathleen Funchion has said the situation is totally unacceptable.

"While the national figure has decreased slightly today, the number of patients on trolleys in St Luke's Hospital, Kilkenny has increased to 40," she said yesterday evening.

“Over the past three months the number of people on trolleys has steadily increased and shows no signs of decreasing. We cannot allow this to become normalised. One patient waiting on a trolley for treatment is one too many.

“Anybody in the Government who feels this is not an emergency issue reaching breaking point does not grasp the reality of the crisis in our emergency services. St Lukes Hospital is operating in crisis mode most of the time, as is the entire Health system.

“This crisis can be addressed with the political will to fully implement all of the recommendations in the Sláintecare report."

Deputy Funchion said she welcomed the news that Minister for Health Simon Harris is to forgo any travel arrangements he had for St Patrick’s Day to address the trolley crisis.

“The next step now is for Minister Harris to implement the recommendations of our Private Members Business motion that was unanimously passed in January to tackle and stabilise the trolley crisis," she said.

"Our motion sought to ensure the Emergency Department Taskforce works on a permanent basis monitoring the situation nationwide and reports on problems to be proactively tackled to increasing investment for transitional care beds, adequate step-down facilities, home care packages, and home help hours to ensure that all patients who can be moved home or to a more appropriate care setting are."