HOSPITAL RE ORGANISATION WILL RESULT IN SHORTER WAITING LISTS AND LESS WAITS ON TROLLEYS IN LIMERICK “NEVILLE”
The Higgins’s Report of the establishment of hospital groups and the small hospital framework were approved by the cabinet today. This will be the biggest re organisation of Irish hospitals in the history of the State. Hospitals will now work together as part of a group. The grouping of hospitals will enable each hospital to specialise in certain procedures which would improve the efficiency of the hospital and result in the reduction of waiting lists and trolley numbers for patients.
The Mid West Hospital Group will be made up of the following hospitals:
Ennis, Nenagh, MWRH Maternity, MWRH Limerick, Nenagh General Hospital, St. John’s and Mid West Regional Orthopaedic Hospital, Croom. In future staff will be recruited to the Mid West Hospital Group rather than to an individual hospital. This ensures that all patients in Limerick will have access to world class medical staff. The increased flexibility of staff will enable a reduction in the hours that Junior Doctors work and this will improve patient safety greatly. Patients will not be restricted in their choice of hospital group. Doctors remain free to refer patients to the hospital of their choice outside of their local area.
A lot of treatment that is currently being provided in the major hospitals can safely be provided in the smaller hospitals because they are less complex procedures. The small hospitals are now positioned to safely undertake a sufficient numbers of procedures to make them viable and sustainable into the future.
The establishment of Hospital Groups is the next major milestone on the path to Universal Health Insurance.
The small hospital framework secures the future of St. John’s Hospital. More patients will now be treated in St. John’s as part of the new Group. The hospital will do more work in a large number of areas including day surgery, diagnostics, rehabilitation and chronic disease management. Overall patient treatment will increase annually due to the increased volume of day surgery and the Minister has sanctioned 20 additional beds to facilitate these changes.
The Governments ultimate objective is to put in place a single tier health service, supported by Universal Health Insurance, as committed to in the Programme for Government, this will ensure that all citizens have equal access to healthcare based on need, not income. A key stepping stone to the introduction of Universal Health Insurance will be developed independent, not for profit hospital trust in which all hospitals will function as part of an integrated group.