02 Dec 2021

Kilkenny hospital shows high mortality rate from strokes, but heart attack sufferers fare better

New figures published today

St Luke’s General Hospital in Kilkenny has one of the highest mortality rates for stroke victims of any Irish hospital, according to a report published today.

The fifth annual report of the National Healthcare Quality Reporting System (NHQRS) gives an overview of quality in the Irish health service. The statistics were compiled between 2016 and 2018.

On a positive note, the mortality rate at St Luke's for people suffering a heart attack was among the lowest in the country. At 4.6 per 100 cases, it was below the national average of 5.29 deaths per 100 The report shows that a patient's chance of dying from a heart attack or stroke can vary depending on in which hospital they are being treated.

While nationally, stroke deaths are at an all-time low, the figures vary significantly from one hospital to another.

St Luke's recorded the highest mortality within 30 days of admission for ischemic strokes. At 13.08 per 100 cases, it was almost twice the national average. Death rates for haemorrhagic stroke at St Luke's were also high - at 32.73 per 100 cases - the second-highest figure in the country.

Stroke is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in Ireland; over 7,000 people in Ireland are hospitalised following stroke each year, and approximately 2,000 people die as a result of stroke each year.

The report emphasises that there can be many reasons why a hospital would have higher or lower rates than the national average. It says it cannot be concluded that a high mortality rate is indicative of poor quality care.

"Rather it provides an indication that a further evaluation should be carried out to determine the reasons for the identified variation in mortality rates," it notes.

The local hospital is again at the high end of 'caesarian section rates per 100 live births for 2017, at 38.3%. Only Cavan General Hospital, at 38.4%, was higher. The national average is 32.2%, which is above the OECD rate.

The average score to the question: “Overall, did you feel you were treated with respect and dignity while you were in hospital?” In St Luke's, 81% of people replied 'yes, always', 17% said 'yes, sometimes', and 2% said 'no'. This was similar to the national average, which was 84% 'yes, always', 13% yes, sometimes', and 3% 'no'. 

The percentage responses to the question: “Did a member of staff explain the purpose of medicines you were to take at home in a way you could understand?” At St Luke's, 52% said 'yes completely', 18% said 'yes, to some extent', 9% said 'no', 13% 'I had no medicine', 8% 'I did not need an explanation'. Nationally, these figures were 58%, 15%, 9%, 9% and 9%.

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