The hospital that would pick up some of the slack if Portlaoise is downgraded has been one of the most overcrowded hospitals in Ireland over the past three days say nurse.
There were 93 patients waiting for a bed in St Luke's Hospital Kilkenny up to Wednesday of this week according to the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation.
On Wednesday, April 11 there were just eight patients waiting in the Midlands Regional Hospital, Portlaoise but a further 28 at its sister hospital in Tullamore. A total of 19 were waiting in Kilkenny.
St Luke's is part of a separate hospital group to Portlaoise which is part of the Dublin Midlands Hospital Group.
Apart from Tullamore and Portlaoise, the DMHG includes Tallaght, St James' and Naas. All were under pressure on Wednesday when nurses counted trollies and beds on wards. All would be expected to pick up the slack if the Minister for Health adopts a plan to downgrade Portlaoise.
Tallaght had 36 patients waiting while 20 people could not get a bed in St James. There were 33 men or women waiting in Naas.
The INMO’s trolley/ward watch figures for the first three days of this week record 1,718 patients waiting in EDs and on overcrowded wards for an in-patient bed.
On Monday, April 9 there were 532 patients on trolleys. This rose to 591 on Tuesday, April 10 and today, April 11 (see attached) there are 595 on trolleys. For the same three days last year there were a total of 1,173 awaiting a bed, 46% less.
The most overcrowded hospitals over the three days were:
Cork University Hospital - 159
University Hospital Limerick - 135
University Hospital Galway - 125
South Tipperary General Hospital - 106
St Luke’s Hospital, Kilkenny - 93
The nurses said these figures confirm that demand for emergency admissions continues to grow with hospitals unable to provide the necessary capacity in terms of bed or staff.
INMO General Secretary is Phil Ni Sheaghdha.
“These figures confirm that hospitals cannot cope, the system is unable to manage patient flow and the burden is falling on nursing and medical staff who are forced to work in intolerable conditions.
"Staff are constantly apologising to patients for the inhumane conditions in which they are forced to care for them and they cannot see any reprieve as we leave the winter period. We are now in the second week of April and the figures are getting higher.
"It is time for the government as a whole to recognise that the health service is in crisis and requires immediate emergency intervention. These numbers are the equivalent of three whole hospitals of patients for whom there are no beds. This is a national emergency inflicting indignity and unnecessary suffering on patients and subjecting nursing and medical and other staff to extraordinary health and safety risks," she said.
"The INMO is again calling for the protocol applying to any emergency to be applied immediately. This should include utilisation of the private sector, cancellations of all elective day and inpatient procedures and concentration on de-escalation procedures. There must be an immediate focus on realistic recruitment and retention measures for nursing staff to prevent this situation continuing to deteriorate,” she said.