Press Release

Statement by Minister Varadkar on the HSE’s Performance Report for September 2015

The HSE’s Performance Report for September shows clear progress in terms of staffing levels and some areas of activity, but issues of concern remain including a slight deterioration in ambulance turnaround times.

Staffing levels in the HSE rose by almost 3,000 between the start of the year and September. Some 2,000 of these were specifically working in hospitals with a further 500 in social care, and the remainder in other areas of the health service.

I particularly welcome the fact that spending on agency staff is predicted to fall by €25 million in our hospitals by the end of the year, which reflects the fact that a large number of nursing and medical staff have been regularised or recruited, and also the appointment of new consultants.

In hospitals, there is a clear increase in activity with elective admissions up 2%. In overall terms, waiting lists were static with marginal changes in most categories. Attendances at out-patient clinics were up 3%, and more patients have had an operation or procedure or have been seen in clinics than were planned for at the start of the year. This is due in part to the €51 million allocated to hospitals at the start of the year to tackle waiting times. However, financial penalties totalling €1.7 million were calculated for September for those Hospital Groups where patients are waiting in excess of 18 months.

Meanwhile, attendances at Emergency Departments were down slightly, which shows some success in treating more people at primary care level or in other facilities instead of EDs. Overcrowding issues remained in some locations, and concerns remain about waiting times, but more than 82% of people attending an Emergency Department in September were discharged or admitted within nine hours of registration.

Healthcare associated infection rates including MRSA and C.Diff remained below the target level, which is a welcome development.

While the September figure for delayed discharges was 609, a slight increase on August, more recent figures from 24th November show delayed discharges at 558, almost 200 fewer than this time last year Overall delayed discharges have fallen from an average high of 850 in November 2014. The number of bed days lost through Delayed Discharge has reduced by 23% since January, a gain of 5,029 bed days. This means that on average, an additional 250 beds are now freed up each week for the acutely unwell, meaning that more elderly or frail patients have been placed in facilities that are better positioned to cater for their particular health and personal care needs.

The waiting time for a place under the Fair Deal wait is down from 15 weeks last year to between two and four weeks, and the number of long waiters to use Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services has fallen by more than 50% since April.

The Community Intervention Team service has been extended across greater Dublin, Louth, Meath and Kildare, and is showing an increase in activity of more than 27% on the same time last year.

In terms of finance, most divisions will be at or close to break-even by the end of the year. The compliance rate with the European Working Time Directive for a maximum 24 hour shift for NCHDs was at 96% and compliance with an average 48 hour week is unchanged at 74%.

Ends

The HSE Peformance Report for September 2015 is located here.