Press Release

January Performance Report showed tough start to 2015 but some small improvements – Varadkar

The first monthly HSE Performance Report of 2015 provides data from January. It is the first performance report to be produced under the new accountability framework and includes the balanced scorecard approach under the headings Quality, Access, Finance and HR.

“This report indicates reduced activity in emergency departments compared to this time last year but notes that there were considerably more older patients with complex medical needs who required longer stays in hospital. There were 6.8% more emergency admissions aged 65 years and over compared to this time last year,” Minister for Health Leo Varadkar said.

“2015 was always going to be a challenge and our intensive efforts over the past few months should have some effect, but later in the year. The demographic trends such as ageing of the population that we have identified have manifested themselves in more older people requiring longer stays in hospital. Through the Emergency Department Taskforce Plan and the Fair Deal initiative we are increasing capacity and implementing structural changes to ensure we alleviate the issue of trolleys and delayed discharges.

“There was a sustained exceptional level of delayed discharges in hospitals, maintaining cost pressures on social care services and acute services, particularly EDs. However, agency costs and overtime are not within profile which is of concern.

“On the positive side, we continue to meet our targets for specialist palliative care provided within seven days of referral, for those in inpatient beds and for people in their own homes. We are also largely on target for the number Home Care Packages and for the number of home help hours provided.

“The waiting list for urgent colonoscopies was at 43 in January but everyone on the list was seen in February with the exception of one person who was seen by appointment on 16th March. Similarly treatment referrals for cancer patients, with the exception of prostate cancer, are on target. 11,589 women attended Breastcheck in January. The aim is to screen 140,000 women throughout 2015 and January represents a good start. 26,156 women were screened for cervical cancer during the month, 13.7% ahead of the projected figure.

“This Performance Report once again demonstrates the scale of the challenge facing the health service. We will continue to work at providing safe quality services for patients while at the same time looking for ways to reduce costs.”