Overcrowding at Kilkenny’s St Luke’s Hospital soars to record levels
By COLIN BARTLEY
ST LUKE’S General Hospital had its worst recorded August since figures began in terms of patients having to wait to get a bed.
Last month, 455 patients were waiting on trolleys at St Luke’s, making the hospital the seventh most overcrowded hospital in the country as revealed by new monthly analysis by the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO).
The figures for St Luke’s appears to be part of a larger hospital bed crisis in the South East region. Both University Hospital Waterford and South Tipperary General Hospital in Clonmel are two of the five most overcrowded hospitals in the country.
Wexford General Hospital is the 12th most overcrowded hospital of the 36 state hospitals analysed.
As revealed exclusively by KilkennyNow.ie this weekend, there is a midwife and nursing crisis at St Luke’s currently, with nearly 50 positions unfilled at the hospital, adding to the bed crisis.
Nationally 9,562 patients, including 48 children, were forced to wait without a bed in August this year – the highest number ever recorded in August.
University Hospital Limerick continues to top the most overcrowded list, with 1,197 patients waiting on trolleys.
Cork University Hospital was next on the list with 1,051 patients waiting, followed by University Hospital Galway with 655. South Tipperary and Waterford filled out the top five hospitals on the list.
INMO general secretary Phil Ni Sheaghdha said: “This is the tragic ongoing reality in Ireland’s health service. To see nearly 10,000 patients on trolleys is bad in itself, but this is a summer month. These figures signal an even more dangerous winter, when extra demands are typically placed on hospitals.
“At the core of the problem is staffing, as there are well over 1,300 nursing and midwifery vacancies across the country. This is no time for recruitment bans. Vacancies need to be filled so that patients get the care they need. The HSE’s recruitment ban has got to go.”