“An unprecedented number” of patients have come to the emergency department of St Luke’s Hospital in recent days, including a higher number of elderly people who are “very unwell”, and the hospital is appealing for members of the public to see their GP or Caredoc if possible instead of coming to the hospital.
“An unprecedented number of patients have presented to the Emergency Department in St Luke’s General Hospital in recent days. These patients are very ill, with an increase in the number of older patients who are very unwell,” a spokesman for the Health Service Executive (HSE) said. “This is in addition to people suffering from strains of the flu virus and other seasonal illnesses common at this time of year – a number of whom require longer inpatient stays thus affecting the hospital’s inpatient capacity.”
Last weekend, 159 patients attended the hospital’s emergency department and acute medical assessment unit between 8pm on Friday and 8am on Monday, according to the HSE. There were 15 patients on trolleys on Monday morning, although this had reduced to four by yesterday (Tuesday) morning, according to the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO).
“Due to the Emergency Department at St. Luke’s General Hospital Carlow/Kilkenny being exceptionally busy in recent days, management are asking the public in the first instance to present to their GP or GP Out-of-Hours (Caredoc) service as an alternative to attending the department,” said the HSE spokesman. “Acute emergencies continue to be prioritised and other services (outpatient clinics etc.) in the hospital are operating as normal.”
“The HSE and St Luke’s General Hospital regret the inconvenience and wish to assure patients/ clients and the general public that staff are working particularly hard to minimise any inconvenience that may arise. In the case where there are an unusually large number of presentations at the St Luke’s General Hospital Emergency Department requiring admission, a patient may have to wait for a period of time until a bed becomes available. The hospital is trying to ensure that all those waiting for treatment and admission are accommodated in a manner that is dignified and respectful in the circumstances.”
He noted as well that “work will begin in the new year on priority capital developments at the hospital, for which €13 million of funding was recently confirmed. Taking 15 to 18 months to complete, a new emergency department, acute medical assessment unit, day services unit and concourse at St Luke’s Hospital Kilkenny will provide staff with a better environment in which to provide treatment and care for the people of Carlow/Kilkenny and the surrounding areas.”