A Department of Health report has found wide variations in emergency department waiting times across hospitals.

The analysis published today looked at hospital performance between 2017 and 2021.

At a national level, 88% of hospital emergency departments (23 out of 26) are below the HSE designated target of 70% admissions within six hours.

Poor-performing hospitals included Tallaght, Beaumont and Naas while good-performing hospitals identified were St Luke's Kilkenny, Mayo University Hospital and the MRH Portlaoise.

"ED wait time performance in hospitals is persistent across years, indicating that interventions to reduce long waits have been potentially ineffective," the report finds.

It notes that according to the literature, emergency department wait times can have significant clinical consequences for patients, so further remedial actions should likely be taken to reduce these costs.

It also identified incomplete treatment in emergency departments ranging from 16.7% of patients having incomplete treatment in St James's Hospital in Dublin to 1.3% in St Luke's in Kilkenny.

The report says that incomplete treatment represents a patient safety concern and an inefficiency in the provision of emergency department services.

There was also under-use of Acute Medical Assessment Units.

The authors of the report call for a review of the HSE Acute Care active performance management system.

The report "Hospital Performance: An analysis of HSE Key Performance Indicators" is by Conor Clancy, Conan Shine and Mark Hennessy at the Department of Health.

A separate analysis on medical manpower says that the number of doctors per head of population here is similar to the average across the OECD.

However, the proportion of foreign-trained doctors in Ireland stood at 40% in 2021, the fourth highest of all member States.

Ireland has a significantly below-average number of specialist doctors, the sixth lowest of OECD countries for which data is available.

The report says that a long time-frame is needed to increase medical education and training places.

In the 2021/22 academic year, there were 1,403 medical student places available in the Irish Higher Education System. This is the highest medical graduate output per capita amongst OECD countries.

But the report says that due to the large proportion of non-EU students (46%) and availability specialist training capacity, many of these graduates do not progress to become consultants here.