Call For Nationwide Patient Standard - Despite Cancelled Operations

While a report on standards of care and patient safety in Ireland has recommended the introduction of a range of national standards for patients in the health service, it has been revealed that one of Dublin's main hospitals has cancelled all non-emergency surgery from the middle of August until the end of September due to budget constraints.

Today's report of the Commission on Patient Safety and Quality Assurance has outlined its proposals for greater accountability in the health service in relation to patient safety.

Key recommendations from 'Building a Culture of Patient Safety' include the creation of a national network of patient advocates who will work in partnership with healthcare organisations and the development of a public information service to make information readily available to patients and carers when dealing with illness.

It also calls on the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) and Health Service Executive (HSE) to implement national standards for open disclosure of adverse events to patients and for existing senior professional roles such as that of Chief Medical Officer within the Department of Health to be strengthened.

In addition, the report also recommends mandatory licensing for all public and private healthcare providers and the establishment of a single database recording potential healthcare employee's qualifications.

It says professional regulatory codes of conduct must prioritise patient safety as the primary duty of all healthcare professionals.

Minister for Health Mary Harney (pictured) said she hopes to bring the recommendations to Government next month.

Meanwhile, an internal memo to staff at Connolly Hospital, Blanchardstown, said revealed that the hospital needed to bring its projected overspend of €3 million for this year "back in line with the allocated budget".

The leaked memo - published in today's Irish Times and dated August 5th - was seen by Fine Gael TD Dr Leo Varadkar, who has worked at the hospital.

In the document, a senior manager stated there is a need to reduce activity levels in some areas in order to bring activity back in line with 2006 figures. This is the target set in the hospital's 2008 service plan.

The hospital's Executive decided to cancel all elective work (in-patients and day cases) from August 18th to September 30th inclusive.

However, cancer patients and other 'urgent electives' would not be affected.


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