QUESTION NO: 493
DÁIL QUESTION addressed to the Minister for Health (Dr. James Reilly) by Deputy Denis Naughten
for WRITTEN ANSWER on 02/11/2011
* To ask the Minister for Health further to his commitments of 21 July 2011 at the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children, if he will report on the independent review of the medical research into the recommended treatment times for medical emergencies; when the data referenced regarding cardiac treatment at acute hospitals will be published; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
– Denis Naughten
The issues raised by the Deputy arose from a discussion at the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children on 21 July 2011 in relation to the emergency service changes at Roscommon Hospital.
The HSE plan implementing the changes to the Emergency Department Service at Roscommon County Hospital came into effect in July. The Urgent Care Centre now in place at Roscommon operates from 8am to 8pm seven days a week and is provided by Non Consultant Hospital Doctors (NCHDs) with clinical governance provided by an Emergency Medicine Consultant at Galway. In addition there is a Medical Assessment Unit at the Hospital and an out of hours GP service is in operation. An enhanced ambulance service has been put in place.
The changes at Roscommon were necessitated by the serious patient safety concerns of the HSE and of the Health Information and Quality Authority in relation to the accident and emergency service at Roscommon following the publication of the Authority’s Report on Mallow Hospital in April 2011. This was compounded because of NCHD recruitment difficulties.
Roscommon County Hospital has a clear future and will continue to provide acute hospital care for the population of the Roscommon area. It will do this as part of a wider network of acute hospitals across the Western area and it will be supported by the other hospitals in the region.
While I indicated that I was open to discussing the issue of having evidence such as that referred to by the Deputy reviewed further I was also cognisant, in particular that the independent statutory role of the Health Information and Quality Authority should not be undermined in any way. As Minister I have total confidence in the important work that HIQA performs as an independent statutory authority in the context of ensuring improvements in the quality and safety in health and social care. Although I have doubts about the need for a review I am as I have indicated open to having a discussion with the Deputy in the matter.
On the other issue raised by the Deputy I can confirm that the CMO’s Office of my Department is finalising a report examining the potential of hospital discharge data in measuring the quality of health care. This includes the measure of recorded 30 day in-hospital mortality rates following heart attack. It is expected that the report will be finalised and published in the near future.