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Major jobs announcement headlines West/North West Hospitals Group Conference

The first conference of the West/North West Hospitals Group successfully kicked off this morning (Wednesday 27 November ) with presentations from leading national and international health care experts. The conference was held in partnership with NUI Galway and hosted more than 140 healthcare leaders from around the country and international guests. 
Leading the announcements was a major jobs boost for Castlebar, Co Mayo. UK-based Northgate announced an expansion of its investment in Ireland to deliver 150 new jobs in Castlebar over a three-year period. The jobs will focus on Northgate’s core services including IT and transactional services, as well as document management services and an extension to the health services already in place. Northgate has already created 200 local jobs in the award winning Newborn Hearing Screening Service with the rollout to all Maternity Units in Ireland. The announcement was made by Northgate's Executive Director, Joe Bradley, who stated “The creation of an additional 150 jobs is good news for the country and will provide a boost for the Irish economy over time, as well as enhancing Northgate’s contribution to providing key public sector services in Ireland.” 
Speaking at the conference, Mr Bill Maher, CEO of West/North West Hospitals Group stated, "This announcement is a demonstration of the ability of a hospital group such as the West/North West Hospitals Group to bring economic benefits to the area it serves. We look forward to deepening our close relationship with Northgate as these 150 new jobs come on stream in Mayo. We welcome the fact that this important announcement was made at our inaugural conference on 'Partnership and Innovation' - qualities that are at the heart of our relationship with Northgate.” 
Also announced at the conference were plans to establish a new collaborative Centre for Learning and Innovation, the first of its kind Ireland. Ms Colette Cowan, Chief Director of Nursing and Midwifery, West/North West Hospitals Group, told the conference that the new Centre will place an emphasis on simulated training and will include mocked up wards and theatres where staff can be made work-ready by learning to communicate, work as teams and develop their critical thinking skills. 
“ We know that the provision of experiential learning enhances quality and reduces risks for our patients. This will be a significant investment in patient safety and welfare and the new Centre will be designed to capture and share best practices and innovation internationally around patient safety and clinical, medical and surgical skills. 
“ We hope to advance this Centre towards the provision of full Fellowship Programmes supported by our partner, NUI Galway, which would inform the future needs of the national health and education authorities.