BY JACKIE KEOGH
BANTRY General Hospital has the highest death rate in the country for people who have had a heart attack.
A report prepared by the committee of the National Healthcare Quality Reporting Systems (NHQRS) shows that the average rate is approximately five in every 100 people, but, in the case of Bantry General Hospital, it is almost nine in every 100.
A spokesperson for the HSE confirmed: ‘Bantry General Hospital is examining information in the recent NHQRS report, and is undertaking an internal review into this matter.’
The report, which is carried out on an annual basis and covers all aspects of patient care within the health service, including patient outcomes, states: ‘It cannot be concluded that a high mortality rate is indicative of poor-quality care. Rather it provides an indication that a further evaluation should be carried out to determine the reasons for the identified variation in mortality rates.’
Anthony Staines, the professor of health systems at DCU’s school of nursing said that an incomplete system of reporting makes it difficult to tell what exactly are the issues in some hospitals and he said the findings of the report do not mean certain hospitals are worse than others.
However, referring to hospitals where the death rate from heart attacks is consistently high, he said: ‘You need to look at it and ask what’s going on. It could be as simple as a very elderly population, it could be down to the facilities and resources within the hospital, it could be down to travelling time to the hospital, it could be how people are presenting.’
Junior health minister Jim Daly, TD, was not available to comment but Independent TD Michael Collins said: ‘It underlines the need for the HSE to provide better resources to Bantry General Hospital. Staff are stretched to their limits to keep up with demand.’
He described the closure of the hospital’s night-time A&E as a ‘retrograde’ step.