Launching the UL Hospital Group Strategic Plan 2023-2027 were Dr Anwar Alabri, Non-Consultant Hospital Doctor, Neurology; Somini Paul, Clinical Nurse Manager; Prof Colette Cowan, CEO, UL Hospitals Group; Suzanne Dunne, Chief of Strategy and Transformation; Aoife Synnott, Chartered Physiotherapist and Roy Horgan, Porter. Pic: Brian Arthur
A new five-year UL Hospitals Group strategic plan commits management and staff to improving patient experience in line with the Sláintecare reform programme
The UL Hospitals Group provides acute hospital care to a population of approximately 410,000 from a network of six hospitals across Limerick, Clare and North Tipperary that together employ around 6,000 people.
Speaking as the Group published the UL Hospitals Group Strategic Plan 2023-2027 CEO Professor Colette Cowan said, “With this plan, we renew and reaffirm our commitment to improve current patient flow and pathways of care and to implement the priorities and objectives detailed in Sláintecare, the 10-year Government programme aiming to establish a universal, single-tier and high-quality healthcare system”.
From early 2024, public acute and community health services across the region will be integrated under a new entity, HSE Mid West. Prof Cowan said the new hospital group strategy was aligned with the national plan and inspired by the promise of Slaintecare to organise health services according to local population need and on the principle of treating patients as close to home as possible.
“Our strategy is designed to accommodate the unique health profile and challenges of the Mid West region,” Prof Cowan said.
The five-year plan is based on four strategic priorities including concerns for Patient Experience and Public Engagement. UHL aims to to make patient experiences positive and to develop an open and just culture which means developing and maintaining trust with patients and the population they serve.
Secondly, People Performance and Culture as a priority sees the group aim to be an attractive place to work, where staff feel recognised and supported to carry out their roles.
“We strive to be an employer of choice within the region, nationally and internationally, where our staff have open access to training and development opportunities,” reads the mission statement.
The Academic Health Science System priority centres on the development and promotion of an Academic Health Science System. This is a coordinated partnership between our academic partner, the University of Limerick, and the healthcare system in the Mid West.
The final priority is about developing an Integrated Care System for the Mid West. UL Hospitals Group are committed to progressing the integration of services within its catchment area.
“We are working closely with our colleagues at HSE Mid West Community Healthcare to refocus the design and delivery of services around the needs of our patients,” said the group.
Prof Cowan said, “Broad strategic goals such as these might seem aspirational at first glance but we are not publishing this five-year plan in order to leave it on the shelf. Staff across the organisation are committed to living it and delivering it in the interests of our patients. We recently published an overview of the five-year strategy from 2018 to 2022 which sets out the practical achievements of our staff over a timeframe that was dominated by the Covid-19 pandemic.”
“From that strategy derived a number of important developments for patients and staff. These have included the robotic-assisted surgery programme that has to date seen over 600 patients; a new clinical information system for our Intensive Care Unit; the automation of processes in our laboratories; and the expansion of services in our model 2 hospitals including the country’s leading Medical Assessment Unit at Ennis Hospital, the regional Women’s Health Hub at Nenagh Hospital and new surgical subspecialties being delivered at Croom. Five years from now, we look forward to a similar record of achievement arising from the new strategy which we are proud to publish today.”
“Our new strategy is animated by the promise of Slaintecare to shift appropriate services from the hospital to the community and to organise and resource health services according to population health need. The Mid West has everything to gain in this new era and our strategy sets out how we will build an integrated health service and in a way that more directly involves the patients it is designed to help,” Prof Cowan added.
Prof Brian Lenehan, Chief Clinical Director, UL Hospitals Group, said, “Over the five-year duration of our previous strategy, demand on our services increased by far in excess of population growth. Attendances to our ED increased by over 11% in the five years up to 2022 and at our Injury Units and Medical Assessment Units in Ennis, Nenagh and St John’s by 41% and 39% respectively, reflecting our commitment to our strategic goal of clinical transformation across all our hospital sites.”
Suzanne Dunne, Chief of Strategy and Transformation, UL Hospitals Group, said, “The development of UL Hospitals Group Strategy 2023-2027 involved extensive engagement including numerous workshops, one-to-one consultations and 13 focus groups across our hospitals and the wider community. Our aim is that the strategy is widely understood and embraced by staff and service users as guiding the direction of the hospital group for the next five years.
“The 2023 – 2027 Strategic Plan is intended to provide the necessary steps to continue to deliver better and improved healthcare services for our region. We have recently established a Strategic Transformation Office and the core function of this office is to oversee and implement our new strategic plan. I would like to acknowledge and thank all those who participated in the development of the strategy,” Ms Dunne said.
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