Friday 28 July 2017

HSE misses cancer care targets

The timeline to provide cancer patients, who are already diagnosed with the disease, with radiotherapy treatment in 15 days is also being missed in nearly a third of cases. Stock Image
The timeline to provide cancer patients, who are already diagnosed with the disease, with radiotherapy treatment in 15 days is also being missed in nearly a third of cases. Stock Image
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

Key time deadlines for the assessment and treatment of patients attending cancer services are not being met by the HSE, according to a new report.

Figures for the first three months of the year reveal less than half of men with suspected prostate cancer are undergoing diagnostic tests within the 20-day target.

The hospitals which are performing worst in prostate cancer assessment delays are University Hospital Limerick, the Mater Hospital and St James's Hospital.

The timeline to provide cancer patients, who are already diagnosed with the disease, with radiotherapy treatment in 15 days is also being missed in nearly a third of cases.

The poorest performers in radiotherapy services are St James's Hospital and Cork University Hospital.

The deadline of 10 days to assess patients with suspected lung cancer and check women who have been referred for routine breast cancer X-rays is also not being met.

University Hospital Galway, University Hospital Waterford and Letterkenny Hospital are failing to see a majority of women referred for a mammogram within the required 12 weeks.

The performance report reveals how hospitals are struggling to meet targets across a range of areas due to various factors including increasing volume of patients, a lack of staff and lack of beds.

Hospitals with the highest number of beds occupied by patients who are ready for discharge, but have not been provided with supports, include St James's Hospital, Beaumont Hospital and the Mater Hospital.

Emergency departments suffered ongoing gridlock over the first three months of the year with many patients leaving before getting treatment, particularly in St James's Hospital, the Mater Hospital and the Mercy Hospital in Cork.

The challenging statistics come as Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, who served as health minister in the last government, takes over from Enda Kenny.

Several of the senior executives, including HSE chief Tony O'Brien, who were in charge of delivering services when Mr Varadkar was in the Department of Health, remain in the same posts.

Irish Independent

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