Annual Report: Chair Report

Anne Maher Chair
2016 saw the continuing development of the Hospital Group model which is a key element of the reform of the Irish health service. The Group Board currently operates on an administrative basis and is appointed by, and reports to, the Minister for Health.

We are pleased to report that the RCSI Hospital Group fully delivered on all agreements with the HSE in service levels, development and financial terms for 2016. This outcome was supported by good progress on the development of the Group. Our Group consists of and facilitates the development of the Group concept which is rebalancing, rationalisation and reorganisation of services for the hospitals within the Group. Our concept is for a single controlled delivery unit across six sites and the migration of available capability to available capacity across the sites. We also aim for an integrated community – hospital pathway.

Cross site co-operation between our Group hospitals is developing well with positive results for patients on waiting lists. Movement of patients and clinicians within the Group is now happening and maximises all available capacity and capability to provide effective, safe and timely care. Beaumont has many pressures from its National Speciality and Cancer Services and Our Lady of Lourdes Drogheda is the second busiest trauma hospital in the country which can result in delays for routine work. New developments in Connolly Hospital and in Cavan General Hospital have now provided the capability to reduce these waiting lists and offer patients more timely care. A further Group development is that the Master of the Rotunda has assumed the role of Group Clinical Director for Women and Infants’ Services for the Group thereby providing a leadership role for these services across the Group, including Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital Drogheda and Cavan General Hospital A Senior Incident Management Forum, under the leadership of a former Rotunda Master, also provides a formal structure for maternity data analytics and assessment of adverse outcomes in a timely manner. The Rotunda also provides assistance for Group maternity services in terms of education support and implementation of standardised clinical protocols and care pathways. All of these developments arise from migration of services and moves towards a single campus for certain services.

I welcome the Government’s commitment to fully implementing the Hospital Groups model which will involve the establishment of the Group Board on a statutory basis. Our recently appointed Group Board will also be affected by the recommendations of the cross-party Committee on the Future of Healthcare in relation to Hospital Groups and by the development of working arrangements with the Community Healthcare Organisations.

Academic linkages are essential to integrate teaching, training, research and innovation in the acute hospital system. The Group is very fortunate to have the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland as its Academic partner. RCSI has provided support and advice to the Group as well as the benefits the Group derives from its many teaching and research activities. The most recently established Health Outcomes Research Centre will strongly support the Group’s initiatives. I would like to thank the RCSI President and Council, and in particular its Chief Executive Professor Cathal Kelly, for the role the RCSI plays in developing our Group.

Ian Carter took over as CEO of the Group in January 2016. Ian has been a very effective and energetic Chief Executive and has made a major contribution to the development of the Group. I look forward to his continued contribution and to working with him.

The contribution and commitment of the Executive Management Group, the Clinical Directors and the Hospital Site Managers is hugely impressive. They and the Group staff have worked very hard to provide the best possible service to patients and their families in the Group catchment area of over 800,000. This service has often been provided in challenging circumstances and on behalf of the Board I would like to say a big ‘thank you’.

I would also like to express thanks to the officials at the HSE and the Department of Health for their assistance to the Group.

Anne Maher
Chair