Limerick hospital group CEO sets out ‘ambitious but achievable’ five-year plan

Fintan Walsh

Reporter:

Fintan Walsh

Graham Knowles, chairperson of UL Hospitals Group, Prof Colette Cowan, CEO UL Hospitals Group, and John Connaghan, interim director general HSE

Graham Knowles, chairperson of UL Hospitals Group, Prof Colette Cowan, CEO UL Hospitals Group, and John Connaghan, interim director general HSE

THE UL Hospitals Group aims to become a leader in digital healthcare in Ireland as part of their new five-year strategy.

Welcoming its new masterplan at the Clinical Education and Research Centre (Cerc) at University Hospital Limerick on Friday, CEO Prof Colette Cowan said its vision to deliver a lengthy list of individual projects is “ambitious but achievable”.

The strategic plan will focus on four pillars in Mid-West healthcare; working closer with HSE community healthcare, to improve patient care through digital advancement, enhance education, and collaboration with other public and private bodies in the region.

In total, there are 168 individual and integrated projects in the pipeline for UL Hospitals’ six acute hospitals in Limerick, Clare and North Tipperary.

Major digital projects include building on medical technologies, such as the national electronic health record; expand on analytics, cloud-based platforms and real-time systems in patient care; and strengthen focus on data sharing arrangements.

The strategic plan will also focus on robotic surgery, integrated care and age-related illness.

Welcoming the plan, Prof Cowan said: “The strategy has factored in both the more general demands on healthcare providers nationally, including the ageing population and growing burden of chronic disease, and the specific factors unique to this region such as the social determinants of ill health in parts of Limerick city.”

Interim director general of the HSE, John Connaghan also welcomed the UL Hospitals’ vision.

“It is really important that a strategy is a living document and one that is subject to some degree of review as you cycle through the years ahead. You expect to revise it every year and that also helps ensure it is not something that just lies in a cupboard.

"The reason I can have confidence it is not going to be something that is left lying unused is that you do have tangible benefits that you can realise, for your patients and for the organisation, around the redesign of services, around integration, around digital health,” he said.