The Department of Health has said a report showing mortality rates at hospitals around the country should not be used to draw conclusions about quality of care.

The study, Health Care Quality Indicators in the Irish Health System, examines Hospital Inpatient Enquiry or HIPE data.

Details of the data contained in the report were published in the Sunday Business Post yesterday and the report in full was published this morning.

The data examined in the report shows mortality rates after patients suffer conditions including stroke and heart attacks vary widely in different hospitals.

However, the Department of Health has said inferences about quality of care cannot be made from the report, and there are many factors that could explain the differences in mortality rates.

The department said the purpose of the report was not to examine quality, but to see if HIPE data can be used in future to measure quality.

HIPE data was referenced by Minister for Health James Reilly when he was explaining the decision to downgrade the emergency department at Roscommon hospital in 2011.

The department said that decision was not related to this report, but was centred on concerns articulated by the Health Information and Quality Authority.