Joint RCPI and HSE patient safety initiative wins Irish Healthcare Award

A ground-breaking diploma that is improving patient safety across Ireland received an Excellence in Healthcare Management award at the Irish Healthcare Awards hosted by the Irish Medical Times in the Shelbourne Hotel, Dublin on 7 November 2013.

The Diploma in Leadership and Quality in Healthcare, jointly established by the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland and the HSE in 2011, won an Excellence in Healthcare Management award in recognition of the difference it is making to patient safety in Irish hospitals.

The Diploma teaches doctors, nurses and hospital managers the science of quality improvement, equipping them with the skills to directly improve patient care in the workplace in a measured, systematic way. Quality improvement projects carried out in the workplace by those undertaking the Diploma are having a real and direct impact on cost savings, waiting times, waste reduction, the patient experience and safety. Below are just some improvements that recent graduates saw in the workplace as a result of their quality improvement projects:

  • Between May and June 2013, Mayo General Hospital reduced the number of patients waiting for medical beds from 130 to five and generated savings of €25,000 in nurse salaries alone.
  • In Waterford, ambulance crews were empowered to bring stable patients with obvious limb fractures directly to the definitive care centre instead of the local hospital - It is estimated that each direct transfer equates to a saving of 45 minutes ambulance time.
  • In the National Rehabilitation Hospital over a six month period, there was a 31% reduction in the number of patients waiting longer than 70 days for access to specialist inpatients rehabilitation beds.

Based on outcomes like this, it is estimated that since the Diploma was established in 2011, and with 100 graduates to date, there has been up to a 10:1 return on investment to the health service.

Professor Conor O’Keane, Treasurer of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland, said ‘The Diploma has provided a common language and skills for all healthcare professionals to improve the system at a time when all resources are stretched. It has positively impacted our patients’ lives, which is its fundamental aim.’

The National Director for Quality and Patient Safety in the HSE, Dr Philip Crowley, said that the Diploma is ‘reinforcing the commitment of the HSE and RCPI to work together to provide safe, high quality patient care.’

About the Irish Healthcare Awards

The Irish Healthcare Awards were established in 2002 to celebrate and reward innovation, excellence and achievement in the Irish health system. They recognise projects that have made a positive contribution to patient care.

The awards, hosted by the Irish Medical Times, cover the fields of healthcare delivery, education, public health, patient support, clinical excellence and pharmaceutical innovation, among others, and apply to anyone working in acute or primary care, education and training, the private sector, patient organisations and health IT.

About the Diploma in Leadership and Quality in Healthcare and the National Quality Improvement Programme

The Diploma in Leadership and Quality in Healthcare is part of the National Quality Improvement Programme, which is a joint initiative by the Quality and Patient Safety Directorate in the HSE and the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland (RCPI). The Diploma was introduced in 2011 for managers and medical professionals to build leadership skills and expertise in quality improvement, thereby helping them to achieve their common goal of improving Irish healthcare.

To date, over 100 healthcare professionals have graduated from the Diploma, including doctors, nurses, hospital managers and CEOs and other senior health professionals.

A key factor in the Diploma’s success is the commitment by the HSE and the Department of Health to financially support the programme and create the opportunity for staff to attend. In addition, the partnership between the HSE and RCPI has brought senior medical professionals and hospital management together with the joint aim of improving the quality of care for patients.

For media requests please contact

Maeve Barry, Communication RCPI

Tel: 085 850 2005