Press Release

Statement by Minister for Health Leo Varadkar on the HSE’s Performance Assessment Report for August

“These figures relate to August and reflect increased activity and demand for health services. The report presents a very mixed picture with improvements in primary care and ambulance services but a further deterioration in hospital services.

“Emergency admissions are up 2%, outpatient attendances up by 3%, and homecare packages were 20% ahead of target. In part, as a result of increased emergency admissions, elective or planned admissions were down about 5% contributing to longer waiting times for outpatients.

“Outside of the hospitals there were improvements in ambulance response times, both in terms of ECHO and DELTA. Palliative care targets for end-of-life patients are being met with over 90pc getting hospice or home care within seven days of requesting it.

“In primary care, waiting times to see an Occupational Therapist and physiotherapists are down since the start of the year. Furthermore, 92% of infants are receiving their child developmental health screening before reaching ten months of age, up from 87.5% at the end of 2013.

“However, the performance in the hospital sector is of great concern. Though there are considerable variations among regions and specialties, waiting times in general are clearly getting worse. There are roughly 700 delayed discharges in our acute hospitals and the waiting time for placements under Fair Deal at 15 weeks is contributing to this.

“While four out of five of adults are getting their procedure or hospital appointment within eight months of referral, the number of people waiting far too long is increasing.

“As we work with the HSE to develop the service plan for 2015, I will be seeking to sustain and build on improvements in primary care, palliative care, screening and ambulance services.

“We will also need further action to speed up delayed discharges and reduce the number of people who are waiting far too long for operations or outpatient appointments.
“Needless to say, any new initiatives and resources provided for 2015 will not show up in PAR reports until the middle of next year. So, the numbers are likely to get worse over the next few months before they get better.”