Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland Coláiste Ríoga na Máinleá in Éirinn

RCSI welcomes new Dublin North and North-East Hospital Network

14 May 2013
RCSI and the RCSI Teaching Hospitals Academic network (Beaumont Hospital, Connolly Hospital, the Cavan-Monaghan Hospital Group, the Louth-Meath Hospital Group and the Rotunda Hospital) welcome the announcement of the re-configuration of Irish Hospitals by Minister for Health, Dr James Reilly TD.

This re-alignment of Irish Hospitals, with their medical school partners, will create six Academic Health Centres in Ireland. This is an important development for Ireland and will lead to improvements in patient care, increase the research output of Irish medical schools and facilitate the rapid deployment of new discoveries into patient care.

This development is consistent with the Strategy for Science, Technology and Innovation 2009-13,
"A key priority is to develop a small number of centres of world significance in translational health research, each with strong foundations in both academia and the health services. Investment in such centres of excellence in translational medicine is required to extract full value from the resources that have been invested in basic biomedical sciences and biotechnology."

Academic Health Centres (AHCs) are an alliance of educational and healthcare institutions that combine the three major activities - health professional education, research and patient care. There is world-wide evidence of significant improvement in patients outcomes, efficiency of service and the economic impact (AHCs create an economic impact of over $500 Bn per annum in the USA), through the development of this model of health-care delivery.

The development of the RCSI Teaching Hospital Network AHC will lead to:

For patients
• Improved health outcomes and safety.
• Improved and more streamlined access to services.
• Better access to innovative treatments and clinical trials

For staff
• Emphasis on innovation, encouragement of learning.
• Increased opportunities for staff and students to be directly involved in education and research.
• An enriched learning environment that will increase exposure to sub-specialties, specialist training, and translational medicine.

For the Partnering organisations
• Cost-effective clinical services and administrative and management functions.
• Attraction and retention of high calibre staff.
• Advancement of the strategic plans of the partner hospitals.
• The opportunity for partner hospitals to build on each other's strengths and further integrate with the community.
• Better access to research funding and a greater volume of patients for clinical trials.
• Opportunity to leverage RCSI's international presence.

Regarding patient services, there is evidence that specialist units performing larger numbers of cases achieve better health outcomes, particularly with more complex work. AHCs can combine the skills and expertise of clinicians across clinical sites in the most effective arrangement in terms of quality of care indicators such as safety, effectiveness and efficiency.

The RCSI Teaching Hospitals Network are committed to breaking down boundaries between primary and secondary care - community-based consultant-led services such as in diabetes and heart failure provide obvious opportunities for such linkages.

As part of integration, RCSI and the partner hospitals will form a single Research Office and a Health Professions Education Office.

Professor Cathal Kelly, CEO, RCSI, welcoming the Government initiative commented: "RCSI welcomes this important initiative in the development of our healthcare services. The College looks forward to working even more closely with its hospital partners for the benefit of patients, clinicians and health professions in training."

The AHC mission will inform all key management decisions: for example, all new consultant appointments will be agreed by the hospital and education partners to ensure that all new senior health professional appointments contribute to the triple mission of research, education and service.
Governance arrangements will reflect this integrated approach.