University College Hospital in Galway has been named and shamed as the worst performing hospital in the country, failing terribly in areas such as access to services for patients as well as the use of beds and other resources.
The hospital ended up bottom of the heap in a performance survey released this week by the Health Service Executive (HSE ). The survey, which is a series of assessments carried out under the HealthStat programme in May of this year, found that University College Hospital Galway’s performance, under the criteria set out by the HSE, was “unsatisfactory, requiring urgent attention”.
Portiuncula Hospital in Ballinasloe narrowly avoided a similar tag barely scrapping into the bottom of the “amber” category signifying an average performance but with “room for improvement”.
This league table of performance provides detailed monthly results from 29 teaching, regional, and general hospitals and 32 Local Health Offices (LHOs ) and the results are produced in a traffic light system - green at the top, amber in the middle, and red at the bottom.
The hospitals get marks based on three themes - Access, Integration, and Resources. Access measures waiting times for services: Whether patients are able to access consultant led out-patient clinics, diagnostic services, treatments, procedures, therapy services, care group services, and emergencey services within acceptable timescales. Integration checks whether the services received are patient-centred: Are people receiving outpatient or day care when they should be? Where it is suitable, are people being admitted on the day of the procedure? Is the length of stay for inpatients as should be expected? Are patients and their families informed about their treatment and included in discharge planning? Is access to diagnostic and primary care services appropriate? Resources looks at how staff and financial resources are being used: Is a hospistal serving acceptable numbers of patients? Are the budget spend and staff numbers as planned? What is the absenteeism rate?
In the Green category (very good performance ) were: St James Hospital; Wexford General Hospital; and Midland Regional Hospital, Mullingar. The majority of hospitals were placed in the Amber category (average performance, room for improvement ). It is believed that the top 10 hospitals in this category were close to achieving the Green mark while the last six were near to being classified Red.
The Amber hospitals are as follows: Sligo General Hospital; Waterford Regional Hospital; Kerry General Hospital, Tralee; Cavan General Hospital; Letterkenny General Hospital; Connolly Hospital, Blanchardstown; Mater Misericordiae Hospital; Louth County Hospital, Dundalk; Our Lady’s Hospital, Navan; St Vincent’s University Hospital/St Columcilles Hospital; Midland Regional Hospital, Portlaoise; South Infirmary Victoria Hospital; Mayo Hospital; St Lukes General Hospital, Kilkenny; Mercy University Hospital; Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda; Beaumont Hospital; Midland Regional Hospital, Tullamore; Mallow General Hospital; Adelaide and Meath Hospital Inc NCH; Portiuncula Hospital, Ballinasloe; and Mid-Western Regional Hospital, Limerick.
In the Red category (unsatisfactory, requiring urgent attention ) were: Cork University Hospital and finally in last was University College Hospital, Galway.