Kilkenny hospital workers told to cancel Christmas to battle trolley crisis
ALL Kilkenny hospital workers – including consultants, nurses and back-up staff – have been told they must work over the Christmas and New Near holiday period to avoid the worst ever trolley crisis.
KilkennyNow.ie revealed yesterday that the number number of patients on trolleys at St Luke’s General Hospital had more than doubled in the space of just 24 hours amid growing concerns of hospital overcrowding across the country as the winter sets in.
The national figure currently stands at 508, and the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) has warned the number of patients on trolleys could exceed 1,000 on some days over the winter.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar intervened in the depending trolley crises, saying senior doctors and nurses, particularly those in A&E departments, should not take leave in the first fortnight of the New Year.
“What has been happening in our health service for 10 or 15 years is that hospitals effectively closed down for seven days out of 12. We need to change that,” he said.
However, Beaumont Hospital A&E consultant Peadar Gilligan – who is warning hospitals will run out of beds for 1,000 patients as the trolley crisis peaks – accused the Taoiseach of looking for an easy scapegoat.
“He is criticising people who provide the service rather than the real problem, which is a lack of beds,” said Dr Gilligan, who also president of the Irish Medical Organisation. “Is he suggesting there’s overcrowding because staff take leave entitlement? That is completely wrong.”
The Government is facing a winter of discontent throughout our ailing hospital system.
Yesterday the INMO confirmed nurses will ballot for strike action over the coming weeks following their rejection of Government pay proposals to tackle recruitment and retention difficulties in the health service.
If the ballot is passed, nurses would stop work for 24-hours, providing only life-preserving care and emergency response teams for operating theatres and emergency departments.