Number of poorly run public hospitals rises
Published 22/02/2010 | 05:00
THE number of poorly run public hospitals in need of urgent attention has risen because of long waiting lists, high absenteeism rates and the treatment of too many private patients.
The worst-performing hospitals in the country are in Cork, Galway, Portlaoise and Drogheda, according to the latest league tables.
But none of the other 25 hospitals in the ratings list has yet made it to the "very good" performance category, and continue to be deemed average with room for improvement.
Cork University Hospital, University College Hospital in Galway, Portlaoise Hospital and Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda have been given an unsatisfactory score and languish on the bottom rung of the league.
The three hospitals with the very weakest scores are Cork, Galway and Portlaoise -- with Drogheda emerging as the "best of the worst".
In Galway, where patients should wait no longer than three months to be seen at an outpatient clinic, the delays are as long as two years in orthopaedics dealing with hip, knee and back conditions.
Those who need to be seen at a general surgery clinic are waiting for well over a year -- and children are also enduring delays that are months longer than they should be.
In the same hospital no more than 20pc of patients treated by consultants should be private. But the figures show that in orthopaedics they account for well over 30pc, leaving less time to tackle public lists of patients needing the same care.
In Cork, absenteeism rates are twice what they should be for some staff, while 25pc of patients are not keeping appointments in certain clinics.
In Portlaoise, public patients are losing out to private patients in general surgery treatments, and the recommended three-month time limit to see a consultant for an eye condition is not being met.
In Drogheda waiting times to see a consultant for ear, nose and throat or orthopaedics extend to two years.
The latest league tables refer to November and are released every month with a time lag for compilation purposes.
The hospitals submit their internal data to the HSE every month and the aim is to measure their performance against other hospitals and learn from those which score best.