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Risks of delayed diagnosis and treatment at SSWHG

The risk register for the Hospital Group says there is a risk to patient safety due to a failure to provide access to quality, safe and timely diagnostics such as imaging, ultrasonography (including anomaly scans), CT scans, MRI, histopathology services, as well as rolling theatre closures.

This risk was entered onto the register two years ago, but remained open as of February this year, along with 22 other risks within the Hospital Group, documents released via Freedom of Information show.

In December 2016, the register noted that critical staffing needs had been identified with some positions filled in 2016 and others included in estimates for 2017.

The register stated that theatre staffing was reduced in some hospitals due to personnel shortages and funding.

“Equipment needs identified, submitted and being progressed nationally,” the register added.

Group directorates and clinical networks are also supporting the delivery of relevant diagnostics in appropriate settings, including anomaly scans, the register stated.

Separately, the register referred to potential adverse patient outcomes due to a risk of delayed access and longer waiting times for inpatient and outpatient care.

Staffing deficits were also listed, with the register outlining the risk of a failure to provide “safe services due to inadequate numbers of experienced NCHDs and high numbers of non-training posts”.

There is also a risk to patients due to a lack of senior clinical decision-makers during leave time taken by single-handed consultants across the entire Hospital Group.

In response to the risks, the register noted that a Group clinical governance structure is to be developed with a specialist operational network across the Hospital Group.

“Hub-and-spoke model within specialities to be developed between Model 4 hospitals and Model 2 and 3 to attract and retain staff,” the register added. 

A SSWHG spokesperson said all risks on the register “are currently open and being actively managed”.

The recently revised HSE Integrated Risk Management Policy guides all hospitals in managing risks within services, the spokesperson added.  

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