PATIENTS who have a heart attack are nearly five times more likely to die in one hospital than in another, according to a report, writes Eilish O'Regan.
And there is a fourfold difference in death rates from stroke between the best and worst hospitals, the Department of Health report will show.
But, the report cannot say if hospitals with higher death rates are any less safe that those with better figures. And no hospital is named.
The data, which refers to figures over three to five years, looks at crude mortality rates per 100 admissions.
The mortality rate for ischaemic stroke in Irish hospitals was found to be 9.9 deaths per 100 admissions in 2011. This compared with an OECD average of 8.5. The mortality rate within 30 days of admission after a heart attack was 6.8 per 100 admissions, compared with the OECD average of 7.9.
But in the report, there is a lack of information on how seriously ill the patient was and what other health conditions they had. There is a lack of facts on how soon they reached hospital; their doctors' expertise; what treatment they received; and how early they go it – all of which would have a bearing on their survival.