Stroke deaths at record low in Ireland
The fifth report of the National Healthcare Quality Reporting System has been published.
Stroke mortality rates are at their lowest level in Ireland.
Minister for Health Simon Harris published the fifth report of the National Healthcare Quality Reporting System on Monday, outlining a range of improvements in the health of the nation.
Key points include heart failure and asthma hospitalisation rates being below international averages, while antibiotic consumption is decreasing.
The report highlights a number of improvements in the health service over the past year, including a significant reduction in mortality rates for strokes, increased screening rates for CPE and improved uptake in bowel cancer screening.
It also shows room for improvement, including in the area of vaccination.
Uptake of the influenza vaccine among over-65s and healthcare workers is still not meeting national targets.
The department also noted “worrying trends” on the issue of Benzodiazepine medicine as figures for the first time show usage in people over 65 years is high as compared to internationally reported averages.
Benzodiazepines are a type of psychoactive drug used to treat a range of conditions including anxiety and insomnia.
Long-term use of the drug is controversial because of the potential for tolerance and dependence, as well as the possibility of overdose, while mixing them with alcohol or other substances can be fatal.
There are improvements to be made in our immunisation rates Simon Harris
Speaking as the report was published, Mr Harris said: “It is important that we use this report to highlight the areas of healthcare that are performing well.
“We also must review areas where we can perform better, examine possible causes and take follow-up actions.
“For example, there are improvements to be made in our immunisation rates.”
He added: “Vaccine hesitancy is not unique to Ireland. It is a global issue and has been identified by the World Health Organisation as one of the 10 leading threats to global health in 2019.
“The figures in the report show there are varying trends across different counties and shows there can be no room for complacency in this area.”
Mr Harris previously said he was minded to look into banning children who had not been vaccinated from schools and public areas – which has been done elsewhere internationally – as vaccine disinformation continues to be an issue.
National Patient Safety Office director Marita Kinsella said: “Over the last decade, the decline in mortality rates for stroke has continued due to improved availability of services and quality improvement initiatives.
“Cancer survival rates for breast, lung, cervical and colorectal cancer compare favourably against other OECD countries.”