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West/North West Hospitals Group meeting with Public Representatives

Management from the West/North West Hospitals Group met with public representatives from Galway and Roscommon this morning (Friday September 06) to provide an update on progress within the Group since the last meeting in January.
Bill Maher, CEO of the West/North West Hospitals Group and Tony Canavan, Group Chief Operating Officer, outlined the significant recent changes in the Group structure.
Bill Maher advised the public representatives that, in July, the Group – then incorporating Galway University Hospitals, Portiuncula and Roscommon Hospitals - was enlarged and took on responsibility for Mayo, Sligo and Letterkenny General Hospitals.
“This meant more than doubling the managed bed capacity (from 830 to 1,770) and increasing staff numbers from 3,940 to 7,620.
“The expansion is being built on the existing governance structures at the heart of which is the Clinical Governance Structure and the integration of the new Group, including the creation of synergies across functions, is a priority for the months ahead.
“Our priorities for 2013 remain the improvement of access to services for patients and this means working on admission times from the Emergency Departments and maintaining the inpatients waiting time targets (which includes a reduction to 8 months wait time for adults). It also includes meeting the SDU’s outpatient waiting time target that no patient should wait longer than 12 months by the end of November. This figure had been reduced from 43,576 in January to 17,319 by end August and we are on schedule that by year-end no outpatient will be waiting longer than 12 months.
“As of the end of July, the Group had a €17.5m deficit, representing overall expenditure of €370.2m against a budget €352.7m. Local and nationally driven cost containment measures are being taken and it is hoped to achieve financial break-even by year end.”
As the meeting involved public representatives from Galway and Roscommon only, a considerable part of the presentation was dedicated to Galway University Hospitals and Portiuncula and Roscommon Hospitals.
“The numbers of patients waiting admission from the Emergency Department at University Hospital Galway (i.e. the trolley waits) has been consistently lower month on month from 2012 to 2013 up to July.
“Significant infrastructural projects at UHG include a new 75 single room ward block due to commence in the coming months.
“Enabling works are about to commence for a major project to build new radiation oncology facilities, housing three new radiotherapy machines, on the UHG site as part of the National Programme for Radiation Oncology.
 “A new ward block is also planned for Portiuncula Hospital involving 50 single bedrooms and the hospital’s endoscopy unit will be upgraded.
“The building of the endoscopy unit at Roscommon Hospital has gone to tender and plans are being progressed to build a new rehabilitation unit and a hospice.”