Press Release

Minister for Health welcomes Second Annual Report of the National Healthcare Quality Reporting System (NHQRS)

Minister for Health Simon Harris today welcomed the publication of the second annual report of the National Healthcare Quality Reporting system (NHQRS). The Minister said : “I am very impressed with this report which is an excellent source of information which I know will lead to many improvements in outcomes for patients. It’s very encouraging to see the improvements in many areas already just one year after the first NHQRS report for example in the areas of rates of immunisation, improved uptake of cancer screening and improved survival rates for patients with breast and colorectal cancer. I know that many areas of our health service perform very well but it is unfortunately true to say that good performance receives far less attention than when things go wrong. Reports like this one help us see the bigger picture and take a broader and longer term view of what is really happening in our health service Of course not everything is where we want it to be, but the first step in dealing with a problem is to know it exists. I will be encouraging the new all-party Committee on the Future of Healthcare to use this information to help inform their discussions. I’m also glad to see that more information on patient experience will form part of future NHQRS reports. ”

The report focuses on a range of outcomes that are important to patients and that reflect the broad range of health services provided in Ireland. It builds on last year’s report and includes a number of additional indicators.

It also presents health information related to immunisation uptake, cancer screening and survival, management of chronic diseases including asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), diabetes, stroke and heart failure. Information is also included on healthcare associated infection rates and antibiotic usage. The report highlights information gaps where new information streams are required such as patient experience data.

“This second annual report makes available measures of health service performance and outcomes of care for Irish health services. The report analyses information that is readily available to inform questions of performance and quality which can then further inform the development of policy, priorities and specific service plans” said Dr Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer.

The report makes clear that many areas of our health services are performing well. Immunisation rates have improved and cancer screening rates continue to improve. A continuing downward trend for hospitalisation for heart failure and for diabetes can be observed. It also shows that survival rates for breast and colorectal cancer are improving. A further positive is the continuing downward trend of the last decade in deaths following admission to hospital with a heart attack or a stroke.

There are areas identified where further room for improvement exists. In particular, considerable variation can be seen between counties in rates of hospitalisation for common chronic diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma, diabetes and heart failure. Identifying this variation is a first step to addressing the reasons why this variation exists and to improving it.

Second Annual Report of the National Healthcare Quality Reporting system