Survey attacks worst A&Es in the country

OUR Lady of Lourdes in Drogheda and the Mater in Dublin have been pinpointed as the hospitals with the country’s two worst accident and emergency (A&E) services in the country.

The two hospitals came last in two patient surveys tables on A&E facilities and waiting times.

The Rate My Hospital study found that Bantry General Hospital and St John’s Hospital in Limerick had the best emergency facilities. They were the only hospitals which were awarded an average of more than four marks by patients and their relatives.

The facility users were asked to rate the services at the hospital on a scale of one to five under a number of headings, with one being “poor” and five being “excellent”.

Both Our Lady of Lourdes and the Mater were given an average of just 1.85 (37%) and 1.92 (38%) respectively for their facilities and 2.09 (42%) and 2.08 (42%) for their waiting times.

At the other end of the scale, Bantry Hospital was awarded 4.07 (81%) for waiting times and 3.96 (79%) for its facilities.

More than 11,000 people have rated hospitals around the country since Rate My Hospital was launched in late 2006.

Overall, hospital A&Es nationally scored only 57% (2.83) on average in terms of patient satisfaction with facilities and 58% (2.89) for patient satisfaction on A&E waiting times.

The only acute general hospital in Dublin to feature in the top 10 in either table was St Michael’s in Dun Laoghaire. Of the larger Dublin hospitals, Connolly Hospital in Blanchardstown scored highest, finishing 13th and 17th in the two league tables.

“This has coincided with the HSE’s recent initiatives to improve A&E, and emergency medicine consultants said only recently that those have not led to any improvements,” said Niall Hunter, Rate My Hospital/ editor.

He said that while the figure represents opinions expressed up to 18 months ago, his organisation did look at the figures some months back and there had not been any significant changes.

“The survey results reflect the problems that been delineated by the medical organisations, the emergency consultants, patients groups, and indeed the HSE, in that there are major capacity and resourcing problems in hospitals.

“While you could argue that smaller hospitals have done well in a survey because they have smaller throughput of patients, some of the larger hospitals have also done well such as Temple Street, Crumlin, South Tipperary General and the Midland Regional,” said Mr Hunter.

The HSE said the views expressed on Rate My Hospital were anonymous and without validation and therefore could not be considered authoritative.

“Unlike the HSE’s complaints system that allows individuals to feed back their negative experiences to the hospital — creating an environment for address and change — the rate my hospital criticisms do not allow for response,” said a spokesman. “The HSE comments and complaints policy, ‘Your Service, Your Say’ invites everyone to have their say about their experience of the health services, and about how services have been delivered.”

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