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Update on the Galway and Roscommon University Hospitals Group at the Regional Health Forum

Bill Maher, CEO of the Galway and Roscommon University Hospitals Group and Tony Canavan, Chief Operating Officer attended the Regional Health Forum Area West meeting in Galway today and provided an update on developments in the Hospital Group including details of the newly expanded Hospital Group*.
In addition, Tony Canavan read a statement** with an update on the three investigations which followed the tragic maternal death case at UHG last year.
Other topics covered during the meeting included private insurance payments and the outpatient waiting list.
Private Insurance Payments
We are in the process of implementing an electronic claims management system across the Group. The new system allows consultants to access the system remotely and will result in a quicker and more streamlined claims management process. The system is now in place in GUH and is being rolled out to Portiuncula Hospital Ballinasloe and Roscommon Hospital.
Outpatient Waiting Lists
The Special Delivery Unit has set a target that no patient should wait longer than 12 months for an outpatient appointment; this target has to be met by the end of November.
This year the Group embarked on a major project to change the way the outpatient services are managed from the way appointments are assigned to the delivery of the actual service. This project involves hospital staff, GPs and the patients themselves.
There are four steps: waiting list validation, improved reporting and focus, more effective use of resources across all of the hospitals in the Group, patient education and engagement as well as increasing capacity.
Patients who have been on the waiting list the longest are being given appointments first and capacity has been increased by having longer clinic sessions and by running additional clinics. There are 31,824 patients awaiting an Outpatient appointment in GUH (21,473 have been waiting less than 12 months).
In March, there were 14,362 attendances at outpatient clinics in Galway University Hospitals and regrettably 2,380 did not attend or notify the hospital in advance that they were unable to attend. The average DNA (or ‘did not attend’) rate for new attendances was 10.5% for the month and 15.7% for return appointments.
All the hospitals in the Galway and Roscommon University Hospitals Group are working hard to provide appointments on dates that suit patients which in turn will mean that there should be fewer ‘no shows’ which put an unnecessary burden on the hospitals.
All patients are advised to notify the hospital if they are unable to attend their appointment and there is a dedicated telephone number available for patients to call to rearrange outpatient appointments. If patients are unable to attend and take the time to notify us in advance it means that we can reschedule their appointment and also offer the original appointment time to another patient.
We hope that with improved communication we will be able to reduce the number of patients who ‘do not attend’ which will improve the throughput of patients and will mean improved access to outpatient clinics.