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Substantial geographic variations in HPV vaccine uptake

Overall uptake among schoolgirls nationally declined substantially from 87 per cent in 2014/2015 to just 72 per cent in 2015/2016.

Reporting on uptake of the HPV vaccine by Local Health Office for the academic year 2015/2016, substantial variation was seen by area, ranging from just 60 per cent uptake in West Cork to 84 per cent uptake in Louth. Just five areas (Carlow/Kilkenny, Dublin South East, Dublin South City, Kildare/West Wicklow and Louth) achieved the national target (uptake ≥ 80 per cent).

According to the report: “The variation reported here requires further investigation at local level. It is noted that public views about some media coverage about this vaccine may have adversely impacted uptake levels in recent years. The World Health Organisation and every national expert and regulatory body in the world have refuted these allegations and stated that the HPV vaccine is safe and that it is not associated with an increased risk of any of the alleged side effects.”

All girls in first year in second level schools in Ireland are offered the HPV vaccine each year. The target is that at least 80 per cent of the girls who are offered this vaccine will complete the required two or three dose schedule.

The NHQRS aims to provide a mechanism through which data about the quality of Ireland’s healthcare structures, processes and outcomes can be made publicly available so that this data may be compared against accepted standards or best practices

This latest annual report also finds that rates of hospitalisation for diabetes and heart failure have decreased substantially over the past ten years and, for those who are hospitalised with a heart attack, there has been a 40 per cent reduction in in-hospital mortality rates. Over 80 per cent of patients who experience a stroke are now admitted to hospitals with dedicated stroke units, and 30-day mortality from haemorrhagic and ischaemic stroke have decreased by 5 per cent and 28 per cent, respectively, over the last decade

Dr Kathleen MacLellan, Director, National Patient Safety Office, added: “The collection of data is not an end point, it is a key part of the cyclical quality improvement process. The appropriate response to reported differences and variability is for the service providers to examine the differences and the underlying reasons for them. Follow up actions as appropriate should be taken by the responsible heath service provider.”

Ms Brigid Doherty, CEO of Patient Focus and member of the NHQRS committee, commented: “I urge health service providers to review and use the report’s findings to influence change and to improve the quality and safety of the service they deliver to patients. I welcome the new infographic available this year as it shows much of the important information at a glance and will support the dissemination of key findings”.

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