The West / North West Hospitals Group yesterday published its 2014 Service Plan, which is the first since the Group was expanded to include hospitals in Mayo, Sligo and Donegal in 2013.
The plan shows that Sligo Regional Hospital – the hospital used by the majority of people from Boyle – will have a €10m budget deficit this year.
The cost of services for SRH in 2014 is estimated at €107m but less than €97m is included in the 2014 budgeted figures.
This will ultimately lead to a cut in services.
Roscommon Hospital on the other hand is estimated to come in on budget.
Projected activity in Sligo Regional Hospital for 2014 is as follows:
Births: 1543 (lowest in the group)
Day Patients: 24,597
ED Attendances: 42,096
Bill Maher, Group CEO, commented, “Our approach to the delivery of hospital services since the formation of the Group in 2012 has been to maximise the benefits to our patients from being part of a hospitals group and this will continue. In addition to minimising administrative overheads, operating as a Group allows us to transfer work where we have resources. This has already proven effective in helping us meet the national inpatient and outpatient waiting list targets in 2013 and we will build further on this in 2014.
“One of the key planks of our approach to ensuring patient safety in our hospitals is to work on continuously improving the quality of our services: this is being achieved in a number of different ways from the establishment of robust governance arrangements to staff training and development. A significant aspect of quality improvement entails continuous review, assessment and – where necessary – modification of the way our services are delivered.
“This objective is driven by our Group mission to ensure that we deliver best quality services to patients and by external influences such as the Higgins report and the European Working Time Directive. The Higgins report, endorsed by the Minister for Health, recommended that each hospital group conduct a review of the services delivered by each hospital in the group within twelve months of being established. The European Working Time Directive is an administrative challenge but one that we welcome as it is being introduced to ensure that patient care is not compromised and that the welfare of our doctors is safeguarded.
“We have already commenced the review process in respect of cardiology and maternity services. The outcomes will be considered and brought forward for implementation in 2014. Reviews of the urology, orthopaedic and ED services will commence in 2014.
“The reviews ofmaternity services, cardiology and ED for the Hospital Groupwill be considered as part of the broader national reviews that are being conducted by the Department of Health and the HSE.
“Without in any way preempting the outcomes of the various stakeholder engagement processes, particularly engagement with our own staff, it is only fair to put forward the premise that change is inevitable. We need to challenge how things have been done in the past in order to improve patient services.
“Change can appear threatening but standing still while the environment changes around us carries even greater threats to the welfare of our patients and staff. Standing still is not an option and we would be short-changing our patients if we did not embrace medical and technological advances and continually increase our understanding of what is clinically possible and medically achievable. We must also respond to changes in the needs of the population and ever-increasing public expectations.
“Everyone who is genuinely concerned about the delivery of care to the people in the West and North West of Ireland should join us in asking the question – can we do better? If the answer is yes, then that is what we should do.”