Cancer clinics fail to meet screening targets
JUST one in two men who needed to be assessed for suspected prostate cancer are seen within the recommended time at Rapid Access Clinics run by the Health Service Executive (HSE).
Up to 90pc of patients should be seen within 20 working days but this was managed by just five of the eight clinics, the latest HSE performance report shows.
The delays were seen in Waterford, Limerick and Galway clinics and additional specialists are being recruited to solve the issue. Up to 95pc of patients with suspected lung cancer should also have been seen in Rapid Access Clinics in 10 days, but this was just met in 89.7pc of cases, with problems in Cork University Hospital due to delays in CAT scans.
The report also shows the target to have patients who come to hospital emergency departments either admitted to a bed or discharged within six hours was not met in one in three cases.
The best hospitals were St Luke's Kilkenny, Kerry, Letterkenny, Mayo, Sligo St John's Limerick and Portiuncula in Galway, the report to the end of June said. Meanwhile, the HSE is warning it could end up with a shortfall of around €104m at the end of the year and it must impose cuts to reduce the deficit.
It is under pressure from spending on medical card schemes and delays in generating savings from cuts in fees to GPs, dentists and other professionals due to the legislation taking longer than expected.
It is out of pocket to the tune of €18m because of the delay in introducing the cuts in fees to professionals.
It is also down around €60m because the increased charges for private beds in public hospitals has yet to come into force.
Hospitals have overspent by €60m in the first six months of the year and this could rise to €75m at the end of December.
It is hoping to get an advance payment of around €80m from private health insurers and bring in another €20m by improving the speed with which hospitals collect the money due for caring for private patients.
It is also unclear how much of the projected savings of €150m will be met under the Haddington Road agreement which came into effect in July.