Monday 11 December 2017

Tables don't give us full picture

Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

HOSPITAL ranking tables are the bane of health managers' lives. They argue such tables only give part of the picture.

Undoubtedly, they can be a crude measurement, but the modest system we have in this country is the nearest we have to public transparency.

It shows that a patient with the same condition can wait months longer in one hospital compared to another in a neighbouring county.

An ear, nose and throat surgeon can be seeing too many private patients in one hospital while his colleagues down the road are sticking to their quota.

Managers say there are many variables behind these figures, such as a lack of staff leading to delays, a high elderly population, or a daily influx of patients from A&E who occupy beds that should be available to people in need of admission on waiting lists.

What the rankings tables do not tell us is how successful hospitals are in their treatment and cure rates.

They do not say how safe the hospitals are and how many accidents or mishaps have harmed patients.

That said, they do give some reliable insight into efficiencies.

Irish Independent

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