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Health Minister must examine variation in mortality rates – O’Reilly

17 June, 2016 - by Louise O'Reilly TD

Responding to the findings of the Second Annual Report of the National Healthcare Quality Reporting System, Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Health Louise O’Reilly TD said that it was imperative the Minister for Health investigate and examine the variations in mortality rates in certain areas to establish if patient safety and quality of care issues are at play.

Deputy O’Reilly said:

“The Report that has been published throws up some interesting, and indeed worrying, statistics. With significant variations in patient’s survival chances after a heart attack or stroke across the State, it is likely that this report will cause great concern for patients and families across the country.

“It is not acceptable for the Department of Health to produce a report such as this, without any recourse to addressing the reasons behind the variations in figures. The public need to have confidence in our public health service, in the care they receive and in our acute hospitals. Questions will undoubtedly be raised about whether patient safety and quality of care are compromised in some locations, or across some specialties, and it is the Departments responsibility to address this.

“Those working in the health system are responsible to the Department and when questions are raised or reports produced, highlighting potential issues, it is up to them to investigate. Local services or practitioners cannot be responsible for self- assessment or review, particularly when there are differences across areas. Having proceeded with a quality reporting system and where these red flags are raised, it is now up to the Department and the Minister to intervene.

“If there are issues that need to be addressed, they should be highlighted and the Minister should act to ensure that any resources necessary are deployed. Patient safety is paramount. 

“I am calling on Minister Harris to identify what actions he intends to take following the findings of the Report and that these issues are addressed as a matter of priority.” 

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