Home > National Healthcare Quality Reporting System: report 2023.

National Patient Safety Office. (2024) National Healthcare Quality Reporting System: report 2023. Dublin: Department of Health.

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Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly has today highlighted significant improvement in health outcomes as outlined in this report. The publication provides an overview of quality in our health service over a period of 10 years and against international standards. This is the eighth and final report in the National Healthcare Quality Reporting System series. Ireland’s Health System Performance Assessment platform, which was released in 2023, provides an overall view on the performance across Ireland’s health service to act as a stimulus for quality improvement.

P.13 The number and the proportion of persons aged 65 years and over is increasing and is projected to continue an upward trend over the next three decades. NHQRS indicators specifically focused on this population cohort include uptake for flu vaccination, timely hip fracture surgery, long-term usage of benzodiazepines and people’s experience of care in nursing homes. From an international perspective, long-term prescriptions for benzodiazepines in Ireland are typically higher than the OECD average, however, it is worth noting that the 2022 national rate was the lowest it has been over the ten-year-period included in this year’s NHQRS report.

P.125 According to the WHO, unsafe medication practices and medication errors are a leading cause of injury and avoidable harm in health care systems across the world. Benzodiazepines are a class of medication that can be used in the treatment of a number of conditions, including insomnia, anxiety, addiction, agitation and neurological disorders. Benzodiazepine related drugs (i.e., z-drugs) are indicated for the short-term treatment of insomnia. When they are appropriately prescribed, benzodiazepines and related drugs are considered relatively safe as they are effective, fast-acting and have low toxicity. Benzodiazepines are also prescribed in the treatment of muscle spasticity, involuntary movement disorders and detoxification from alcohol. Dependence to benzodiazepines is recognised as a significant risk in patients receiving treatment for longer than one month.

P.134 Medication safety: - Chronic benzodiazepine usage in the community in people aged 65 years and over 
The number of patients aged 65 years and over (per 1,000 eligible patients) who have had a reimbursable prescription for a benzodiazepine or benzodiazepine-related medication dispensed for 12 months or more via the Community Drugs Schemes. (See metadata sheet for further information).....

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