Hospitals told to investigate heart attack death rates
The death rate from heart attack patients in Tullamore Hospital is nearly twice the national average, newly published figures reveal.
Other hospitals with the highest death rate from heart attack -within 30 days of admission - are Cavan General Hospital and Connolly Hospital in Dublin.
The data also highlighted wide variations in Caesarean section rates, with women twice as likely to have the procedure in some maternity units.
The data, compiled by the hospitals themselves, is contained in the first report of its kind released by the Department of Health showing death rates from heart attack and stroke,
Tullamore's rate per 100 cases, tracked between 2011 and 2013, is 11.96, followed by Cavan at 10.36 and Connolly, which has a figure of 9.87. The national death rate is 6.68 per 100 cases.
Chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan cautioned that while the rate was standardised by age and sex it does not constitute a "league table "and does not show if quality of care is at fault. And there are other factors such as whether the patient was transferred from another hospital or had other illnesses which need to be taken into account.
However, he said the figures are a signal that more investigation is needed and it is up to each hospital to now start measuring their performance and find where there are weaknesses.
Death rates from heart attack generally in Ireland have dramatically fallen in the last decade.
"There is no such thing as perfect data but the indicators presented in this report signal to us that certain services require further analysis and examination in order to identify if a problem exists," Dr Holohan added.
The best-performing hospital for death rates for heart attack patients is Portlaoise which recorded a rate of 3.84 deaths per 100 cases, with the Mater in Dublin coming in second.
The report showed the death rate within 30 days of admission for the most common form of stroke - ischaemic stroke -was highest in Cavan and lowest in Tallaght in Dublin.
The death rate from another from of haemorrhagic stroke, affecting a minority of patients, was highest in Naas and lowest in Beaumont and Cavan.
On Caesareans, the reported showed the rate is highest in St Luke's Kilkenny at 35.4 per 100 births and lowest at 21pc in Sligo General.
Dr Holohan said this cannot be explained by complications in pregnancy alone and is also likely to be linked to practice.
Other data revealed:
Cork University Hospital did 66pc of hip fracture operations within two days of admissions but it was at 95pc for St Vincent's in Dublin and Mayo General.
Patients with COPD, including emphysema, are most likely to be hospitalised in Offaly and least likely in Kerry.