Officials unable to explain death rates
HEALTH officials admitted last night they could not explain the statistics showing that cardiac patients in Roscommon hospital have four times the death rate as those admitted to Galway University Hospital.
The statistics were described as "stark" by Health Minister James Reilly in the Dail earlier this week during a heated debate about plans to end round-the-clock A&E services in Roscommon.
He said: "If you go to Roscommon, you have a 21.3pc mortality rate. If you go to Galway you have a 5.8pc mortality rate."
However, the Department of Health admitted yesterday that the statistics do not identify the reasons for the difference.
The statistics were part of a report being finalised by the chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan.
The aim is to identify high quality markers which can measure the performance of parts of the health service and give insights into safety levels.
The data is derived from the Hospital In-patient Enquiry (HIPE) system which includes statistics provided by hospitals.
Dr Reilly claimed last night on RTE's 'Prime Time' that he had no idea that patient safety was at risk in Roscommon hospital when he pledged to retain its services before the election.
He also said GPs would have to be upskilled to cater for patients who come to the hospital as emergencies overnight.