Sunday 19 January 2020

Some hospitals have much higher death rates for heart attacks

St Vincent’s Hospital
St Vincent’s Hospital
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

A number of hospitals have significantly higher death rates due to heart attacks and strokes than the national average, according to a new report from the Department of Health.

St Vincent's Hospital in Dublin had the highest death rate from heart attack within 30 days of admission, at 9.04 per 100 cases over 2014-2016.

Other hospitals with higher mortality rates are Mullingar, Tullamore, Our Lady of Lourdes, Drogheda, Cavan General and Portiuncula Hospital, Ballinasloe. The national average, according to the statistics which are age and sex standardised, was 5.82 per 100 cases.

The figures in the annual report of the National Healthcare Quality Reporting System cannot amount to a league table, because it is unclear what the background factors are.

These include the patient's overall state of health and how soon they were admitted after the onset of symptoms.

The Department of Health has said that while it was not possible to say if there was a lower quality of care, it signalled the need for more investigation.

The death rate for patients from the most common form of stroke 30 days after admission was highest in Navan Hospital where it was 13.69 per 100 cases.

The rates were also high in Cork University Hospital and University Hospital Kerry. The fourth highest rate was in Connolly Hospital in Blanchardstown, Dublin, at 11.19 per 100 cases. The national average is 8.81 per 100 cases.

Commenting on the figures, Dr Alan Smith, director of quality and patient safety at St Vincent's Hospital, took issue with the methodology and said figures from the National Office of Clinical Audit found the mortality rate following heart attacks in the hospital was well within normal limits for 2011-2015.

The report also showed variations in waiting times for a surgery for a hip fracture in different hospitals.

St Vincent's Hospital performed best for carrying out hip surgery within two days of admission, at 95.4pc. Cork University Hospital was the worst performer, at 77.1pc of surgeries within two days.

It also showed variations in antibiotic consumption by county, and showed just 55pc of older people over 65 got the flu vaccine last year.

There was also a 17pc drop in talk up of the HPV vaccine to protect against cervical cancer.

On the plus side, hospitalisation for diabetes and heart failure has fallen, while the survival rates for breast, cervical and bowel cancer are continuing to improve. Rates of MRSA have dropped by 66pc in 10 years.

Irish Independent

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