By Lloyd Mudiwa.
The nominations of clinical directors around the country have been delayed because the HSE had been waiting for the definition of hospital networks, Irish Medical Times has established.
However, the Executive has now decided to proceed with the new elections notwithstanding, National Director of Quality and Patient Safety Dr Philip Crowley has revealed.
Elections for clinical leaders for only the second three-year term of the function were supposed to have opened in July.
Dr Crowley told IMT: “We have been waiting for the definition of hospital networks because that will influence how we deploy clinical directors around the system. But the first cohort of clinical directors has really served their time now.
“So I think we are probably going to instruct the system to reappoint on the basis of a competition for clinical directors across the system, in models agreed with the National Steering Group [for Clinical Governance], but with the clear understanding that at the time that a hospital network is actually created, we will probably seek to have a new competition for network clinical directors.”
Dr Crowley explained that health management did not want to delay for “too long” the appointment of new directors. “We now have a Clinical Director Programme Lead, Dr Colm Henry, who is going to give a lot of support to the individual directors, and Thora Burgess [Project Manager, Clinical Governance Development] working in my directorate and myself will be working to ensure that the issues that inevitably occur when you start off with a new model of leadership are addressed.
“What we want to do now is to work with the clinical directors to force them to address the issues earlier on in their tenure so we can improve their effectiveness, because we think that many of the clinical directors were highly effective in the first cohort.”
He added: “I do believe that the way we will really modernise and improve the efficiency and value for money, and most importantly quality of care, will be through clinical leadership. That’s how we will do it.”
Asked for his comment on the suggestion by senior consultants at the recent IHCA Annual Conference in Galway that participation by clinicians in health management would be a casualty of the planned pay cut for new consultants, Dr Crowley answered: “I would hope not. I don’t believe that it should impact on the clinical programmes.”