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Health service news

New paediatric intensive care unit

The new €9.8 million Paediatric Intensive Care Unit  at Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin, Dublin has been officially opened by Health Minister, Dr. James Reilly, T.D.

The new unit has more than doubled each bed area size and provided four additional Paediatric ICU beds for the hospital bringing the total ICU bed complement in Crumlin to 25.

The project was funded totally by the HSE.  Phase two, which is now underway, will provide for staff education rooms and parents’ facilities and is due to be completed in the autumn.

Mr. Gerry O’Dwyer, Regional Director of Operations, HSE Dublin Mid-Leinster said “This development represents the commitment by the HSE to enhance paediatric services.  We are delighted to be in a position to fund this development, given the current economic climate.  It is identified as a crucial element of paediatric care. The HSE will continue to work with all paediatric hospitals, including OLHSC, towards developing a single paediatric hospital at one site.  The HSE acknowledges the close working relationship which exists across all paediatric hospitals.”

Mr. Lorcan Birthistle, Chief Executive at OLHSC said the new unit would meet an urgent, immediate clinical need, minimise risks of infection and provide timely access to healthcare and represents value for money.

The only two children’s intensive care units in the country are in Our Lady’s and the Children’s University Hospital, Temple Street, Dublin.  Both hospitals work closely through the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit network which discusses daily PICU availability for the country’s sickest children.

Government appoints new Secretary General

The Government has appointed Jim Breslin as the first Secretary General of the Department of Children and Youth Affairs.

Mr Breslin has considerable senior management experience across both Government Departments and the health service.  He was previously Assistant Secretary at the Department of Health, with responsibility for Finance, Performance Evaluation, Resource Allocation, Research, Information & International Affairs.

Jim Breslin
Jim Breslin

Prior to that, he worked in the Health Service Executive (HSE), the Eastern Regional Health Authority (ERHA) and the Department of Finance. His responsibilities in the ERHA and the HSE included the management of children’s services.

Mr Breslin holds masters degrees in public administration from Trinity College, Dublin and the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.  He is 39 years of age.

Doctoral Fellowship offered

The Health & Social Care Research & Development Division of the Public Health Agency (HSC R&D Division), in conjunction with the All Ireland Institute of Hospice and Palliative Care (AIIHPC), has announced that applications for a Doctoral Fellowship in Hospice and Palliative Care are now open. The Fellowship aims to support and develop research capacity in this area across the island of Ireland.

The three-year Doctoral Fellowship in Hospice and Palliative Care is intended to enable the individual to undertake research training as a means of developing a research career in Palliative Care, and to follow a training programme leading to a PhD.

The All Ireland Institute of Hospice and Palliative Care (AIIHPC), is an all island organisation, comprised of a Consortium of hospices and universities, all working to improve the experience of supportive palliative and end-of-life care on the island of Ireland, by enhancing the capacity to develop knowledge, promote learning, influence policy and shape practice. The aim is to secure best care for those approaching end-of-life.

Application forms are available from HSC R&D Division in either a paper or electronic format.  Electronic format application forms can be supplied as an e-mail attachment.  Alternatively, information can be obtained from the HSC R&D Division website: http://www.publichealthagency.org/directorate-public-health/hsc-research-and-development.

Minister opens €5 million theatre suite

A new €5 million theatre suite complex at Cappagh National Orthopaedic Hospital in Dublin, was officially opened last  Friday by Health Minister, Dr. James Reilly, T.D.

Funded by the HSE, the complex consists of three operating theatres, with associated scrub rooms, anaesthetic rooms, equipment rooms and utility rooms.

Cappagh Hospital CEO Gordon Dunne, Health Minister, Dr. James Reilly, TD. and Mr James Kilduff, Chairman, Cappagh Hospital Board at the opening of the new theatre complex.
Cappagh Hospital CEO Gordon Dunne, Health Minister, Dr. James Reilly, TD. and Mr Tony Kilduff, Chairman, Cappagh Hospital Board at the opening of the new theatre complex.

The new unit has been designed to the most recent technical standards, with facilities in each operating room to allow surgery being carried out there to be viewed anywhere in the world. If necessary, surgeons can communicate live with each other to consult on complex cases.

Laminar Air Flow systems ensure highly filtered clean air is delivered to each operating suite.  One of the theatres has been designed specifically to facilitate surgery for larger patients and an extra large canopy ensures larger patients can avail of surgery in an ultra clean environment.

Cappagh has low infection rates that compare favourably with international comparison and remains the highest scoring hospital in the HIQA national hygiene audit.

The three new theatres bring to seven the total of the operating theatres in the hospital.

Cappagh is the country’s national tertiary referral centre for adult and children’s orthopaedics. A total of 23 consultant orthopaedic surgeons confer and work together to deliver a highly efficient service in a centre of excellence. It is the only orthopaedic organisation in the state that has a joint register to audit outcomes of all major surgery, with follow-up to five years post operative.

It manages a cohort of highly specific bone tumour cases, is a harvest centre and distributer of bone graft nationally and has an autologous blood transfusion service.

A new 3 Tesla MRI and two new X-ray interventional rooms were recently added to the hospital.  The 3 Tesla MRI is the first of its kind available to public patients in the state.

In 2009, the hospital completed a state of the art ten bed isolation unit consisting of ten en suite in-patient rooms, a single outpatient review room, a rehabilitation room and auxiliary support areas.

Cappagh carries out elective orthopaedic surgery for six adult and children’s hospitals in the east, which are affiliated to it  – the Mater Misercordiae University Hospital, Connolly Hospital, Beaumont Hospital, St. James’s Hospital, the Children’s University Hospital, Temple Street and St. Vincent’s University Hospital.   It also carries out bone/tissue surgery and scoliosis surgery for the Children’s Hospital in Crumlin.

Cappagh CEO, Gordon Dunne said that the opening of the new theatres meant that Cappagh has the capacity and capability to further centralise elective orthopaedic surgery in the eastern region providing economies of scale and enhanced educational and research capability.  He said the centralisation of elective orthopaedics removes pressure from theatre space in major acute hospitals whilst ensuring consultants’ skill base is optimised.

Cappagh is a major teaching institution with undergraduate and postgraduate training facilities in medical, surgical, anaesthetic and nursing programmes in conjunction with the royal College of Surgeons in Ireland and University College, Dublin.

It has 157 beds for adults and children. On average, it carries out 2,000 major in patient operations, 8,000 minor operations and has about 8,000 outpatient attendances annually.

The hospital was given in Trust by the Martin family in 1908 to the Religious Sisters of Charity.  On January 1, 2006, the Lady Martin Trust was transferred from the Religious Sisters of Charity to the Sisters of Mercy and a Board of Directors was appointed to manage the Trust.

New Clinical Leads appointed

The HSE has appointed two more leads of its Clinical Care Programmes. The primary objective of the Clinical Care Programmes is to standardise best practice nationally to ensure better care and outcomes for patients and decrease premature mortality.  This is part of the strategy to improve the quality, access and cost of clinical services in Ireland.

Prof. Alf Nicholson
Prof. Alf Nicholson

Prof. Alf Nicholson, consultant paediatrician at the Children’s University Hospital, Temple Street, Dublin and Professor of Paediatrics at University College, Dublin, has been appointed Clinical Lead of the HSE Paediatrics Programme.

Dr.  John Murphy has been appointed Clinical Lead of the HSE Neonatology Programme.  He is a consultant neonatologist attached to the Children’s University Hospital, Temple Street and the National Maternity Hospital, Dublin.

Chairs of Oireachtas Health & Children Committees

Jerry Buttimer, Fine Gael T.D. for Cork South Central has been elected as Chairman of the key Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children.

The Committee will shadow the activities of the Department of Health and Department of Children and Youth Affairs.


Jerry Buttimer
Jerry Buttimer, TD

Waterford T.D., Ciara Conway has been elected as Committee Vice-Chair.

Following his election, Buttimer said “I believe the Committee has an important role in monitoring two significant Government Departments.  Over the last number of weeks both Departments have been the centre of public attention due to the highly sensitive and emotive matters with which they deal.

“In the area of health our focus must be patient safety and the delivery of services which comply with modern best practice.  At all times we must recognise the needs of the people whom we serve and ensure that facilities and services are both safe and of the highest standard.

“The Cloyne Report has again highlighted the importance of children’s rights.  The Committee will work with the Minister for Children to ensure the prioritisation of the proposed referendum on children’s rights and that all arms of the State and all bodies dealing with children comply fully with the Children First Guidelines.”

The following T.D.s and Senators have been elected to the Committee. Deputies Jerry Buttimer, Fine Gael, Catherine Byrne, Fine Gael, Michael Colreavy, Sinn Fein, Ciara Conway, Labour Party, Regina Doherty, Fine Gael, Robert Dowds, Labour Party, Peter Fitzpatrick, Fine Gael, Seamus Healy, Independent, Derek Keating, Fine Gael, Billy Kelleher, Fine Fail, Eamonn Maloney, Labour Party, Charlie McConalogue, Fianna Fail, Mattie McGrath, Independent, Denis Naughten, Fine Gael, Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin, Sinn Fein, Senators Colm Burke, Fine Gael, Dr. John Crown, Independent, David Cullinane, Sinn Fein, John Gilroy, Labour Party, Imelda Henry, Fine Gael, Marc Mac Sharry, Fine Fail  and Jillian Van Turnhout, Independent.