Meaningless Figures

March 23, 2009


Just when I think I’ve heard it all, they go and do it again. The HSE has today published performance ratings for 29 of it’s acute public hospitals. All 29 hospitals were given either a green, amber or red rating overall. What a load of balls! These ratings do not reflect clinical care nor do they equate to the misery and suffering experienced by patients countrywide. Instead of focussing resources where they are most needed, at the coalface of our health service, the HSE has instead compiled another meaningless set of figures examining service performance. Is the HSE ever going to prioritise patient care?

There are few who would disagree that the health system in Ireland is in need of radical change. The debate is in where the major problems lie and how they can be remedied. Today I listened to a riveting radio discussion between Fionnuala Duffy, Assistant National Director of Planning and Development for the HSE and Prof. Michael O’Keeffe, a well-respected hospital consultant, who works in both the public and the private sector

Prof. O’ Keeffe made mincemeat of the HSE’s policy of equating our hospitals in terms of efficiency and effectiveness. As he pointed out to the HSE representative, “I work in the system, you don’t”.  And therein lies the core of the problem of the mismanagement of our hospital system.

The HSE’s response?  “There is scope for improvement in efficiency. There are challenges”.

Have a listen to the discussion for yourself. It was hard to know whether to laugh or cry.

(Fast forward 25 mins)

Today with Pat Kenny