A performance notice, which was issued by the HSE due to “a significant level of concern” over performance improvement, remains in place for St James’s Hospital’s (SJH) rapid-access prostate clinic (RAPC).
According to the Dublin Midlands Hospital Group (DMHG), the clinic has been impacted due to difficulties recruiting consultant urologists.
An appointment was recently made, but the post-holder cannot start immediately.
“The DMHG continue to work closely with SJH in its efforts to achieve compliance with the RAPC performance requirements,” said a DMHG spokesperson. “This has included the appointment of a consultant urologist on a part-time basis to focus on RAPC and the support of Tallaght University Hospital consultant urologists in successfully addressing a backlog of referrals.
“In recent months, SJH has had significant improvements in its RAPC key performance indicator. The November report indicated full compliance.”
The DMHG said it is working with relevant parties to address longer-term strategic priorities.
Under HSE targets, 90 per cent of patients should be offered an appointment at a RAPC within 20 working days of receipt of referral.
According to the HSE’s performance report for July-September 2019, some 68.1 per cent of prostate cancer referrals were seen within 20 working days in the year to date, compared with 74.9 per cent for the same period in 2018.
The figure at South/South West Hospital Group (SSWHG) was just 32.5 per cent, followed by DMHG (46 per cent), Saolta University Health Care Group (69.6 per cent), and University of Limerick Hospitals (72.6 per cent). RCSI Hospitals (100 per cent) and Ireland East Hospital Group (93.5 per cent) reported exceeding the KPI.
Compliance at Galway University Hospitals was 41.3 per cent, and even lower at Cork University Hospital (28 per cent) and University Hospital Waterford (UHW) (3.1 per cent).
Problems with compliance are subject to formal national escalation (level three) at SJH, UHW and Limerick.
A SSWHG spokesperson said UHW has “outsourced a number of patients” to the Mater Private, Dublin, and was working to secure other private providers. UHW was also scheduling additional clinics.
The spokesperson said Cork University Hospital and UHW have raised these issues with the National Cancer Control Programme.