An average of 100 bed days have been lost at St Luke’s Hospital every week since the start of the year, according to Deputy John McGuinness.
The TD, who is head of the Dáil’s public accounts committee, says he will be asking the Health Service Executive (HSE) what extra investment in St Luke’s and/or in community support services is needed to bring about greater efficiencies in bed management and to support patients waiting for access to health services and those who want to be cared for at home.
“In the first four and a half months of the year, 93,698 bed days were lost at hospitals across the country. Figures released to Fianna Fáil from the HSE show that 1,906 of these were lost at St Luke’s in Kilkenny, an average of 100 a week, as a result of delayed discharges,” the Fianna Fáil TD said. “The public hospital system is creaking and the Government’s strategy of cutting home care packages and closing 1,000 public nursing home beds nationwide this year is having a direct impact on patient care.”
The concern, he said, is that the situation will become even worse as the recession and cutbacks continue.
“Community nursing home beds and home care packages are essential to ensuring that people who don’t need to be in St Luke’s Hospital any more can move to community or home settings when their hospital care is complete. The cuts to these areas hit the most vulnerable in society and it is an issue Health Minister James Reilly must address as a matter of urgency,” he said.