April 17, 2024
David Cullinane TD responds to late night CHI statement

In response to a statement issued late this evening by Children’s Health Ireland, Teachta David Cullinane has said:

“Late this evening, Children’s Health Ireland issued a statement challenging information on the number of cancellations of children’s chemotherapy appointments. This information was provided by CHI themselves to the HSE. The definition of a hospital cancellation is very clearly set out by the HSE and does not involve rescheduling  treatment for clinical reasons.

“I am very concerned that the CHI are now challenging the very data that they themselves provided to the HSE and in turn to me.

“The cancellation of a quarter of a million appointments across the hospital network as a consequence of overcrowding is scandalous. The cancelling of children chemotherapy appointments is unacceptable and the government must ensure it is not repeated.”


Note to Editors:

In response to my Parliamentary Question on the number of hospital-initiated cancellations, which is a standardised HSE-defined data report that is collected on a weekly basis from each hospital, I was given the following information from the HSE Acute Operations division in relation to Children’s Health Ireland:

Information Request Number:
PQ Number: 15428/24
Date report created: 08/04/2024
Data Source: Weekly Hospital Cancellations of Planned Activity
Subject: To ask the Minister for Health the number of hospital-initiated scheduled care cancellations, by appointment type, for each quarter of each year 2022-2024, inclusive, by hospital group and hospital, in tabular form
Hospital Group / HospitalQtr1Qtr2Qtr3Qtr4Qtr1Qtr2Qtr3Qtr4Qtr1
Children’s Health Ireland2331,07111,83712,44811,34911,73910,5249,69010,515
All Other Day cases2081552923677669462538498
Chemotherapy (Day case)06203199201270182212273
Elective Inpatient Admission8435271,027828738495635473
GI Scope (Day case)14830463132233521
New Outpatient Appointments762822,2072,2312,0462,4412,1921,8792,138
Return Outpatient Appointments1156518,3188,0227,5667,5897,1706,3917,112

The Parliamentary Question reply provides the definition used in the collation of hospital cancellation data, defining a hospital cancellation as:

“A hospital-initiated cancellation of an outpatient or inpatient/day case procedure is defined as the rescheduling of a patient To Come In (TCI) date by the hospital due to circumstances beyond its control.”

It further states:

“Reasons for cancellation of scheduled care appointments:

I. Increased ED attendances and admissions resulting in a requirement for surge inpatient bed capacity.

II. Unforeseen circumstances e.g., Weather events, infection outbreaks or industrial action.

III. Sick leave/Staffing shortages can impact scheduled/planned activities.

IV. Although new patients are scheduled within 6 weeks of their appointment, return patients are often scheduled months in advance and may have to be cancelled and rescheduled due to changes in service delivery model.”

Nowhere in the reasons given or anywhere else in the response does it state any patient or clinical reasons are recorded as cancellations under this data request.

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