Long waiting lists and sick days put hospital in 'worst' category
A HOSPITAL in the midlands has slipped to the bottom of a rankings table measuring the best and worst performers in the health service.
Tullamore Hospital in Co Offaly has been ranked the worst performer, scoring poor results for absenteeism and waiting times.
The latest rankings, based on data from within the Health Service Executive (HSE) from July, are seen as particularly crucial as hospitals face into one of their toughest winters yet, with hundreds of beds closures expected due to cutbacks.
Tullamore Hospital should be seeing all patients referred to outpatient clinics by their GP for tests and scans within 70 days.
However, a patient faces a delay of 300 days for an MRI scan, 120 for an ultrasound and 85 for a CT examination.
Patients needing a bowel exam -- a colonoscopy -- also have to endure delays.
And consultants were found to be seeing higher quotas of private patients than they should.
The hospital also scored poorly on absenteeism.
The table, which was instituted in 2009, is compiled by the Health Service Executive based on data mostly supplied by 31 acute adult hospitals covering areas such as waiting times for surgery or delays in A&E.
It puts hospitals in three categories -- top perfomers, average performers and worst performers.
Just 11 of the hospitals are in the top rank and judged to have a "very good performance". The vast majority were "average with room for improvement.''
The best performing hospitals are in Wexford, Letterkenny, Ennis, Mullingar, Sligo, Naas, Nenagh and Cavan.
Other best performers include the South Infirmary in Cork and St James's and Connolly hospitals in Dublin.
The emergence of Ennis General in the good performance table comes after it recently emerged at a Medical Council hearing that in 2005 consultants wrote to then Health Minister Mary Harney warning about its facilities.
It has received a very good score for meeting targets for ultrasounds and X-rays.