Laois hospital A&E cut in plan Dublin Midlands hospital boss calls a 'blueprint'

Conor Ganly

Reporter:

Conor Ganly

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news@leinsterexpress.ie

Portlaoise hospital hse a&e laois harrisb

Health Minister Simon Harris and Dr Susan O'Reilly - image used in new Dublin Midlands hospital strategy that proposes Portlaoise downgrade.

The proposal to cut 24-hour A&E from Portlaoise hospital is part of 'blueprint' plan for Dublin and the midlands according to a HSE hospital group chief executive.

In her foreword to the leaked Dublin Midlands Hospital Group (DMHG) five year plan Dr Susan O'Reilly says publication would be also be 'milestone'. The DMHG refuses to comment on the plan but the Leinster Express can reveal what Dr O'Reilly believes the future will be.

"The strategy acknowledges the significant work already underway across our seven hospitals, in a very challenging environment, and provides a blue print of how the Group will continue to deliver the highest quality acute hospital care services in the country and continue to drive change, support innovation, and improve access to services for all patients," she writes.

Doctors in Laois have warned that the loss of A&E will mean maternity, paediatrics, psychiatry will also be lost. None these consequences are is referred to by the CEO in her foreword. 

She does acknowledge that the plan would be expensive as it contains expansion and new building and more staff in hospitals other than Portlaoise.

"We cannot underestimate the impact of the recent financial crisis on our public services and particularly the impact of the recruitment moratorium. International difficulties of attracting and retaining staff continue to impact on how we deliver our services. We want to attract and retain the best people to work in our hospitals and ensure that the services, environment and potential career development is at the forefront of our strategy," she said.

As for finding the cash, Dr O'Reilly indicates that would be a matter for Government.

"Increased resources, recruitment and investment in services, must be supported by the HSE and Department of Health. At Group level, we will continue to push for this expanded investment," writes Dr O'Reilly.

The CEO says the report emerged from a significant consultation process. The public and patients or their representatives are not listed among those consulted nor are staff trade unions. However the CEO insists the public and staff are central

"A key enabler to achieve our strategic objectives remains with our people and patients. Our people (more than 11,000 staff) are our most valuable asset and we are committed to improving existing conditions and providing exciting opportunities for our workforce to continuously develop and harness their full potential for the delivery of best in class service.

"Patient engagement is even more paramount. The voice of the patient must be listened to. We are committed to creating and fostering an environment where patients inform and shape how we develop and deliver hospital services into the future. Patients want to receive timely access to excellent care and to be treated with respect and dignity," she said.

Dr O'Reilly concludes the the plan will guide the DMHG to achieving the goal of providing 'outstanding care for our patients by focussing on patient safety, improving quality of care and supporting innovation to enhance service delivery'.

The plan was due to have been signed off last week by DMHG management at a meeting in Dublin chaired by the CEO. The group declined to say if this happened 

On the same day in Laois a public meeting rejected any downgrade of Portlaoise hospital.

The Minister for Health Simon Harris has a linked plan for Portlaoise but has not approved its implementation.

Dublin Midlands Hospital Group Strategy 2018 - 2023

CEO FOREWORD

I am pleased to present the Dublin Midlands Hospital Group five year Strategic Plan 2018 to 2023.

The publication of this strategy represents a key milestone since the formation of the Group.The strategy acknowledges the significant work already underway across our seven hospitals, in a very challenging environment, and provides a blue print of how the Group will continue to deliver the highest quality acute hospital care services in the country and continue to drive change, support innovation, and improve access to services for all patients.

While the Dublin Midlands Hospital Group has been operational since 2015, we are still a Group in early development and much work remains to be undertaken in the period ahead to ensure the Group and its constituent hospitals continue to develop. The 800,000 patient population dependant on healthcare services within our Group catchment area are the primary drivers of everything we do.

Key considerations for the Group in the period ahead, include:

•Responding to ongoing challenges – demographic, financial, socio-economic and lifestyle;

•Improving access and supporting service delivery;

•Progressing towards Trust status.

We are equally clear on the areas of service delivery which are a priority for the Group. These are:

•Focussing on patient safety and improving quality of care;

•Further developing and improving clinical pathways between the Group hospitals, which will enhance timely access for our patients to optimal care;

•Developing integrated care pathways with our community partners;

•Actively supporting innovation, research and education to enhance service delivery.

Our strategy acknowledges the many challenges that currently exist for our hospitals and wider health service.

We cannot underestimate the impact of the recent financial crisis on our public services and particularly the impact of the recruitment moratorium. International difficulties of attracting and retaining staff continue to impact on how we deliver our services. We want to attract and retain the best people to work in our hospitals and ensure that the services, environment and potential career development is at the forefront of our strategy.

A fundamental deliverable for the Dublin Midlands Hospital Group, as part of this strategy, is access to timely, high quality services in the most appropriate healthcare setting. Although care delivered in hospitals by our staff is of a very high standard, timely access to both elective and emergency services continues to be a significant challenge due to resource and capacity problems in hospitals and in the community. Increased resources, recruitment and investment in services, must be supported by the HSE and Department of Health. At Group level, we will continue to push for this expanded investment.

The Dublin Midlands Hospital Group Executive engaged in a significant consultation process in order to inform the strategic planning. These engagements took place in the context of a national dialogue around the future design and provision of our health system. Contributions from relevant stakeholders, such as hospital clinical staff and management, primary care, core hospital functions (finance, ICT, HR etc.), HSE National Divisions and the National Clinical Programmes and our academic partner, Trinity College Dublin have informed our thinking and will continue to be an integral part of how we shape and implement our strategy.

The establishment of Hospital Groups is the most significant reform of our hospital service for many years. While an important step, the longer-term goal of the transition of our Group to Trust status remains a core objective. We strongly support the Trust model because of its capacity to devolve decision-making authority and financial accountability to a regional level, which is closer and more responsive to patient needs.

In tandem with the ongoing transformation of our services to this new model, we will continue to work towards Trust status through developing services which are person orientated, safe, sustainable and capable of serving all people in the region.

A key enabler to achieve our strategic objectives remains with our people and patients. Our people (more than 11,000 staff) are our most valuable asset and we are committed to improving existing conditions and providing exciting opportunities for our workforce to continuously develop and harness their full potential for the delivery of best in class service.

Patient engagement is even more paramount. The voice of the patient must be listened to. We are committed to creating and fostering an environment where patients inform and shape how we develop and deliver hospital services into the future. Patients want to receive timely access to excellent care and to be treated with respect and dignity.

I believe the Strategic Plan 2018-2023 will guide us in achieving our goal of providing outstanding care for our patients by focussing on patient safety, improving quality of care and supporting innovation to enhance service delivery.

Dr. Susan O’Reilly MB, BCh, BAO, FRCPC, FRCPI, Chief Executive OfficerDublin Midlands Hospital Group