Minister for Health Simon Harris TD has today (Monday) welcomed the publication of the fifth annual report of the National Healthcare Quality Reporting System (NHQRS), which gives an overview of quality in our health service.
The report highlights a number of improvements in the health service made over the past year including a significant reduction in mortality rates for stroke, increased screening rates for CPE and important achievements including increased uptake in bowel cancer screening this past year.
It also shows room for improvement including in the area of vaccination. Uptake of the influenza vaccine for those over 65 years and healthcare workers is still not meeting the national targets.
There are also some worrying trends on the issue of Benzodiazepine medicine as figures for the first time show usage in people over 65 years is high as compared to internationally reported averages.
Speaking as the report was published, Minister Harris said: “It is important that we use this report to highlight the areas of healthcare that are performing well. We also must review areas where we can perform better, examine possible causes and take follow up actions.
“For example, there are improvements to be made in our immunisation rates. Vaccine hesitancy is not unique to Ireland. It is a global issue and has been identified by the World Health Organisation as one of the ten leading threats to global health in 2019.
“The figures in the report show there are varying trends across different counties and shows there can be no room for complacency in this area.”
He continued: “Public reporting of this nature becomes more important as we implement the Sláintecare vision, which aims to reform Ireland’s health and social care service to create a modern, responsive service that offers the right care, in the right place, at the right time. The patient voice is also highlighted in this report and provides valuable insights for our health service. I would encourage people to continue to give their opinion of their hospital stay through the National Patient Experience Survey which is ongoing right now. The NHQRS report is one way we can measure the impact of this reform. I am pleased to see this report’s publication by my Department.”
Secretary General of the Department of Health, Jim Breslin, said “I welcome this fifth annual report which is coordinated and produced through this Department. Information on the performance of our health service is important to informing decisions that service providers and policy makers make about our health service. It is important that we look at this report to assess both where our health service is performing well and where there is room for improvement. The report is published on our website to give patients and citizens clear information on the performance of their healthcare system, including how we compare internationally.”
Director of the National Patient Safety Office, Marita Kinsella, said: “The 2019 report highlights improvements in a number of areas. For example, antibiotic consumption in the community has decreased for the last three years running which is important because antimicrobial resistance is an international challenge. Over 90% of hospital patients report that they feel they are involved in the decision making regarding their care in 2018. Over the last decade, the decline in mortality rates for stroke has continued, due to improved availability of services and quality improvement initiatives.
“Cancer survival rates for breast, lung, cervical and colorectal cancer compare favourably against other OECD countries.”
The information provided in this report should be reviewed and examined by those tasked with the planning and delivery of healthcare and/or the development of health policy locally, regionally and nationally. This information is important to ensure safe quality healthcare in Ireland through a process of systematic, continuous quality improvement.