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According to the Department, the publication of this report is in keeping with the commitment from the Minister for Health in 2014 to the public reporting of information on the quality and safety of health care in Ireland. It will also promote a culture of openness and transparency, and improving accountability within the health sector, the Department believes.
“This annual report aims to provide information on the quality and safety of health care services that can be easily understood and used by patients, members of the public, policy makers, and service providers, to assist them in making informed decisions about their own health care and about health care services in Ireland” said Dr Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer at the Department of Health.
“Patients have a right to know the type of information contained in this report. Ultimately it will help to improve services and patient outcomes and it will, I hope, commence a public discussion on these important issues. Reports like this empower patients and service users to make informed decisions about their health care, help health care providers to improve their performance through benchmarking with other services, and they facilitate system-wide quality improvement in health care by informing national policies. This report will help to ensure that a high level of care is made available to the greatest extent possible.
“Top performing organisations constantly examine and measure the quality of their services and products in order to continuously improve and the health service should be no different.”
He added that the Department will be working closely with the HSE over the coming year and beyond to ensure that a culture of continuous improvement becomes embedded.
“I want to point out that there is no such thing as perfect data but the indicators presented in this report signal to us that certain services require further analysis and examination in order to identify if a problem exists. One can draw on the analogy of a smoke alarm going off. Further investigation may reveal a faulty smoke alarm or an actual fire. We will work closely with the HSE and Hospital Groups to ensure the early identification and speedy rectification of any deficiencies in health services,” concluded Dr Holohan.
Minister for Health Leo Varadkar said: “I welcome the publication of the first NHQRS annual report. I have set improving patient outcomes and patient safety as one of my priorities for 2015 and beyond. I am a strong believer in transparency and open data. As they say, if you don’t measure it, you cannot improve it and without regular measurement and reporting you cannot know if your policies and reforms are actually making a positive difference.”