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Dublin: 10°C Thursday 19 May 2022

Reilly announces biggest change to Irish hospitals 'in decades'

Hospitals are now going to be divided into one of six groups around the country.

A bed in the Mater hospital in Dublin
A bed in the Mater hospital in Dublin
Image: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

THE MINISTER FOR Health has announced a reorganisation of the country’s hospitals which has been described as the most fundamental reform of the Irish hospital system ‘in decades’.

Hospitals will now be divided into one of six groups, with each group containing between six and eleven hospitals, including at least one major teaching hospital.

Each group will work together a single entity to provide acute care for people in the area, with management structures to be put in place at group level. The Minister said the new groups will secure the future of smaller hospitals by allowing them to focus on providing certain kinds of treatments, with complex services concentrated at particular hospitals.

The Minister described the new hospital groups is a “fundamental modernisation of our health system organisation”.

In the report to the Minister on the establishment of hospital groups, a panel of national and international experts said that some Irish hospitals currently provide the same services within small geographical areas, which the group said was a wasteful use of resources.

“By working in groups, hospitals will balance the services provided between the hospitals in each group based on the needs of their population,” the report said.

Healthcare staff will be expected to work across a group rather than in individual hospitals, which the report says will reduce duplication in areas such as human resources and finances.

HSE Director Tony O’Brien described the announcement as the most significant development in the organisation of Ireland’s hospital services since the development of the cancer centres.

The new groups are:

  • Dublin North East
  • Dublin Midlands
  • Dublin East
  • South/South West
  • West/North West
  • Midwest

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