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Irish National Survey Shows Patients Experienced Good Hospital Care During Pandemic, But Long ED Wait Times Persist

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Results of the 2021 National Inpatient Experience Survey in Ireland found most patients had a good experience in hospital, with 83% rating their experience of hospital care as ‘good’ or ‘very good’. The majority of survey participants said that they were always treated with respect and dignity, and that they were given enough privacy when being examined or treated. Patients also gave very high ratings of cleanliness, pain management and confidence and trust in hospital staff.

Nevertheless, long waiting times in the emergency department remain a problem, with only 29% of people saying that they were admitted to a ward within the Health Service Executive’s (HSE) target waiting time of six hours. Over 300 people (4%) said that they waited 48 hours or more to be admitted. Further areas needing improvement include the availability of emotional support, time to discuss care and treatment with a doctor, information on how to manage a condition after leaving hospital, and opportunities for family members to talk to a doctor.

The National Inpatient Experience Survey is part of the National Care Experience Programme, a joint initiative by the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA), the Health Service Executive (HSE) and the Department of Health. The Programme also includes the National Nursing Home Experience Survey and the National Maternity Experience Survey, and is currently developing two additional surveys on end-of-life care and maternity bereavement care.

Two additional reports — on patients’ experiences of human rights-based care in hospital and of discharge from hospital — have also been published. These, and the 2021 National Inpatient Experience Survey report, are available at

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