Press Release

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

“The HSE’s performance figures for September once again reflect rising activity and rising demand for our health services. There continues to be a mix of improvements in primary care and ambulance services but ongoing problems in hospital services.

“Activity is clearly up despite tight budgets. Emergency admissions were up 2%, outpatient attendances up by almost 4%, and homecare packages were 20% ahead of target. However, elective or planned admissions were down about 5% contributing to longer waiting times for elective surgery, as a result of increased demand on EDs in the form of emergency admissions.

“In the broader health sector ambulance response times continued to improve in terms of ECHO and DELTA, partly due to new technology upgrades. Palliative care targets for end-of-life patients are now being surpassed with 96% getting hospice or home care within seven days of requesting it.

“There are also some positive developments in primary care with almost 1,000 fewer people waiting more than 12 weeks waiting for a physiotherapist assessment compared to this time last year. And 96% of those referred to our breast cancer services were offered an appointment within two weeks, beating the 95% target.

“Once again however, performance in the acute hospital sector is of concern. Out-patient waiting numbers continue to increase, as do waiting times. There are almost 750 delayed discharges in our acute hospitals and the waiting time for placements under Fair Deal at 15 weeks continues to be a big issue.

“We will be taking further action to speed up delayed discharges and reduce the number of people who are waiting far too long for operations or outpatient appointment, but these measures will take some time to work and will not show up in PAR reports until the middle of next year. This means that the numbers are likely to get worse over the next few months before they get better.

“I am pleased that four out of five of adults are still getting their procedure or hospital appointment within eight months of referral, but the number of people waiting too long continues to increase.

“Our work with the HSE on the 2015 Service Plan is almost complete and I will be seeking to sustain and build on improvements in primary care, palliative care, screening and ambulance services.”