HIQA claims slow HSE is putting patients 'at risk'
THE Health Service Executive (HSE) was reprimanded by the country's patient safety body yesterday for the delay in overhauling services in small hospitals where patients are at risk.
It emerged the HSE took 18 months -- from April 2009 to September 2010 -- before it came up with an action plan to tackle the patient safety risks in hospitals like Roscommon.
And even by February of this year, the HSE had still not carried out a risk analysis of each of the small hospitals earmarked for change.
The revelations were made in a strongly-worded statement yesterday by the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA), which signalled its impatience with the HSE over the pace at which it is moving to make smaller hospitals safer.
It follows the controversy over the removal of round-the-clock emergency services in Roscommon General Hospital earlier this week and similar planned moves in other hospitals around the country
HIQA warned: "Further procrastination and delay is not acceptable and can put patients' lives and safety at risk."
In response to the statement, the HSE said last night that it acknowledged the changes in smaller hospitals were taking longer than HIQA would like.
A spokeswoman said that "nevertheless, HIQA acknowledged in the Mallow report that longer-term improvements are in train".
"In this regard, work is well under way to implement the issues identified in the Mallow and Ennis reports."