A FULL independent review of the management of University Hospital Kerry (UHK) is due to begin within days.
The review – to be carried out by the HSE ‘s cute Operations and the Special Delivery Unit (SDU) – was ordered following the recent visit to UHK by the HSE’s National Director of Acute Operations Liam Woods last month.
Mr Woods and a group of other senior HSE managers from UHK and the South South-West Hospital Group (SSWHG) visited UHK to meet with the hospital’s Consultant Group who had highlighted, what they called, the “crisis” at the hospital in two recent letters to the CEO of the SSWHG Gerry O’Dwyer.
In the letters the Consultant Group expressed deep concerns including a lack of bed capacity; deficiencies in the COVID testing regime; a severe shortage of nursing staff and supports for nurses; and the cancellation of elective surgeries.
While the consultant group said they were “acutely aware” of the “finite resources” the HSE must work with, they said they were concerned that UHK’s management have not been able to progress plans to deliver the “capability that UHK needs now”.
The consultants said they wanted to continue working together “to deliver excellent health care” but that this was “not possible due to the current management of the hospital.
“Unfortunately we have found it almost impossible to progress plans due to a lack of strong leadership for UHK”.
During their meeting with Mr Woods and his team the consultants sought assurances that an independent inspection and review of the operations at the hospital would be carried out by the HSE’s Special Delivery Unit.
On Monday Education Minister and Kerry Fianna Fáil TD Norma Foley said she had received assurances that such a review would take place in the near future.
After Minister Foley’s comments the SSWHG confirmed that a review is due to take place and it is expected to begin within days.
“The SSWHG would also like to confirm that following a recent visit to UHK by the HSE’s National Director of Acute Operations, a dedicated team from Acute Operations and the Special Delivery Unit (SDU), Operations, Performance and Integration will in the coming days also provide assistance and support to the local managerial and clinical teams at UHK,” a spokesperson for the hospital group told The Kerryman on Tuesday.
The Hospital Group said that work has been on-going in UHK to respond to concerns raised by the hospital’s Consultant Group.
“There are on-going reviews of existing organisational processes and an agreed action plan has been in place with the UHK management team over recent weeks to respond to, address and escalate the key areas of concern impacting on the patient journey from the point of admission to the discharge plan,” said the spokesperson.