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Group set up to oversee HIQA recommendations at Tallaght Hospital

After last month’s damning report, the Department of Health has announced an expert group to oversee change.

Image: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

HEALTH MINISTER JAMES Reilly has established an expert group tasked with overseeing the implementation of various reforms at Tallaght Hospital following the publication of a damning HIQA report.

Last month, the health watchdog said it found an “unacceptable situation for patients” in the emergency department at Tallaght and made a number of specific recommendations.

Chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan will chair the group charged with overseeing those recommendations.

Six members, including a number of international experts in patient safety and governance, have already been confirmed. Dr Beth Lilja from the Danish Society for Patient Safety, Dr Carol Peden of the Royal United Hospital in Bath and David Dalton and Gerry Marr from the NHS will join UCC senior lecturer Dr Deirdre Madden and Independent Hospital Association of Ireland chairman Dr Fergus Clancy in making up the group. Confirmation on two additional members is awaited, said Reilly, but work will commence before the end of June..

In its scathing report, HIQA strongly criticised the management at Tallaght hospital, saying the board did not function in an effective way. It also called for an end to the cultural belief among staff that putting patients on trolleys in corridors is acceptable.

More health reform

Another three appointments have been made today as part of wider reforms of Ireland’s health service.

Reilly said the filling of the three key positions is “entirely in keeping” with the Government’s reform programme, as well as the recommendations of the HIQA Report of the investigation into the quality, safety and governance of the care provided by Tallaght Hospital for patients who require acute admission.

Professor John Higgins has been appointed to work with the Special Delivery Unit in the role of Chair of a Strategic Board to assist the Department of Health in the design and establishment of Hospital Groups which will manage public hospitals.

Meanwhile, Noel Daly has been appointed to the role of Chair the Galway Roscommon University Hospital Group and Professor Niall O’Higgins has been appointed as Chair of the Mid-Western Regional Hospital Group.

The term of the appointments is for three years and the boards of the groups will be established initially on a non-statutory basis.

Reilly noted that the board established by Higgins should conduct its business in an open and transparent manner with the maximum amount of meetings held in public by this time next year. Its annual general meeting should also be held in public from 2013 onwards.

A self-evaluation of the board has also been ordered and arrangements for a facility so staff can raise concerns about the quality and safety of patient care.

Higgins is a practising Obstetrician and Gynaecologist at Cork University Maternity Hospital and the head of college of medicine and health at UCC.

Related: Report on Tallaght Hospital describes emergency department as “unacceptable”>

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