The Minister for Health has released figures showing a significant rise in patient activity at South Tipperary General Hospital in the past year, including a 14% increase in patients from North Tipperary attending the hospital for treatment.
The figures given by Dr James Reilly to South Tipperary Oireachtas members Deputy Tom Hayes and Senator Denis Landy show there has been an overall 11% rise in patient activity at the hospital since last year with a massive 32% increase in activity in general medicine.
Deputy Hayes and Senator Landy met with Dr Reilly last Wednesday about the amount of patients that are having to be regularly accommodated on trolleys in corridors at South Tipperary General Hospital while beds are closed due to staff and budget cut backs and hundreds of more patients from North Tipperary are attending the hospital since the closure of Nenagh General Hospital’s Emergency Department.
Deputy Hayes said he and Senator Landy called on the Minister for more funding to be transferred to South Tipperary General Hospital to enable it re-open the closed beds and handle the increase in patients.
He said the Minister was aware of the situation at STGH before their meeting with him and promised to monitor the activity at the hospital.
Deputy Hayes indicated it was unlikely that any further funding will be made available to the hospital this year as hospital budgets have already been decided and the Minister is under huge pressure due to the €280m HSE deficit.
However, he pointed out that the Minister’s policy was based on the principle of the “money following the patients” and on that basis funds would have to be transferred from the Mid-West region to South Tipperary General.
He pledged to keep up the pressure on the Health Minister to take action to tackle the trolley problem at Clonmel hospital. “South Tipperary General Hospital has the only Emergency Department in Co. Tipperary and we have to do everything to protect it,” he said.
This pledge was echoed by Senator Denis Landy, who said they would have to meet with the Minister again if the hospital continues to have a high number of patients on trolleys.