“In relation to the proposed new hospital groupings, when can we expect an announcement of how these will affect hospital services in Cavan / Monaghan?”

Cllr. Robbie Gallagher (FF)

Response:

The Minister for Health, Dr. James Reilly TD, has announced the reorganisation of public hospitals into more efficient and accountable hospital groups that will deliver improved outcomes for patients.  This represents the most fundamental reform of the Irish acute hospital system in decades.

The Government’s decision regarding the establishment and operation of the new hospital groups was informed by two reports – ‘The Establishment of Hospital Groups as a Transition to Independent Hospital Trusts’,produced by an expert group led by Professor John Higgins following consultation with stakeholders, and ‘The Framework for Development – Securing the Future of Smaller Hospitals’.  Both reports have been published.  These reports fulfill important commitments in Future Health, the strategic framework for reform of the health service which was published last November.

 

Hospital Groups

By working in groups, hospital services will be provided by the hospitals in each group, based on the evidence based needs of their populations.  Each group of hospitals will work together as single cohesive entities managed as one, to provide acute care for patients in their area, integrating with community and primary care.  This will maximise the amount of care delivered locally, whilst ensuring complex care is safely provided in larger hospitals. Six hospital groups will be established as follows:

  • Dublin North East;
  • Dublin Midlands;
  • Dublin East;
  • South/South West;
  • West/North West;
  • Midwest.

 

Each group will comprise between six and eleven hospitals and will include at least one major teaching hospital.  Each grouping will also include a primary academic partner in order to stimulate a culture of learning and openness to change within the hospital group. Robust governance and management structures will be put in place at group level.

 

Benefits for Patients

The objectives of the groups are to:

  • Achieve the highest standard of quality and uniformity in hospital care across the group;
  • Deliver cost effective hospital care in a timely and sustainable manner;
  • Encourage and support clinical and managerial leaders;
  • Ensure high standards of governance, both clinical and corporate and recruit and retain high quality nurses, NCHDs, consultants, allied health professionals and administrators in all our hospitals.

 

The introduction of groups will provide for organisational change in the first instance, giving more autonomy and better enabling the reorganisation of services in a well-planned manner.  Over time, this will help to improve services and deliver better outcomes for patients.

 

Framework for Smaller Hospitals

The Framework for Smaller Hospitals outlines the need for smaller hospitals and larger hospitals to operate together and is therefore intrinsically linked to the formation of sustainable hospital groups.  Better co-operation between hospitals will help to maximise the amount of care delivered locally.

 

Next Steps – Implementation

To complement implementation of the Report’s recommendations, the Department of Health will now put in place an overarching policy framework to guide overall hospital services reorganisation from a national standpoint.  Work on the roll-out of hospital groups will commence immediately and will be overseen by a National Strategic Advisory Group and driven by the HSE.  Group Chairpersons and CEOs will be appointed as soon as possible and preliminary governance arrangements will be put in place.

 

Initially the groups will be established on a non-statutory administrative basis.  Each group must develop a strategic plan for their future service configuration in the first year of their operation.  These plans must describe how they will provide more efficient and effective patient services; how they will reorganise these services to provide optimal care to the populations they serve; and how they will achieve maximum integration and synergy with other groups and all other health services, particularly primary care and community care services.

 

Following a rigorous evaluation of each group to ensure it is fit for purpose to function as a Hospital Trust, legislation will be put in place in 2015 to enable Independent Hospital Trusts to be established, taking account of any changes to groups which may emerge from the review process.  The Cavan/Monaghan Hospital Group is linked to the Dublin North East Group which includes the following Hospitals:

  • Beaumont Hospital;
  • Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda;
  • Connolly Hospital;
  • Cavan General Hospital;
  • Rotunda Hospital;
  • Louth County Hospital;
  • Monaghan Hospital.

 

 

 

 

Leo Kinsella,

Regional Director of Operations,

HSE Dublin North East