A former Ennis Hospital manager has been appointed to a new role that will see him oversee the management of some medical facilities.
Frank Keane has become the new general manager of unscheduled care, which includes managing the emergency department in University Hospital Limerick (UHL), which experiences almost daily overcrowding.
It also involves overseeing improvements in the delivery of services in the Local Injuries Units in Ennis and Nenagh and the Medical Assessment Unit (MAU) in Ennis, Nenagh and UHL.
It is a case of the wheel coming full circle for the Ennis resident, who started his career as a emergency medical technician in 1992 and will now be in charge of the ED in UHL, where paramedics bring patients from the Mid-West for life-saving treatment.
Working as an EMT in the region until 1998, he then became an ambulance officer and worked in this role until 2003, when he became a business development manager at UHL.
In 2006, he was appointed as Nenagh Hospital manager until 2010, when he moved back to Ennis to take up the role of Ennis Hospital manager until the summer of 2012.
Following a restructuring of management posts, he was appointed the general manager of maternity and child health directorate. The new structure forms part of a comprehensive Winter Resilience Plan which UL Hospitals’ Group is putting in place to support the expected increase in patient presentations during the winter months and is in response to the Minister for Health Leo Varadkar’s announcement last month that a new €18 million winter initiative is being put in place to tackle overcrowding.
The introduction of a new management structure for the ED in UHL has been welcomed by Deputy Pat Breen.
“Putting a new management structure in place by appointing a new general manager and patient liaison manager at the emergency department ahead of the winter months is an important initiative.
“Frank brings years of vast experience to the role having served as a hospital manager in both Nenagh and Ennis. He also has extensive knowledge of the challenges facing patients and frontline staff, having spent five years as a frontline pre-hospital care provider. He has hands-on experience within the ambulance service and previously served as the business manager for surgery in the Mid-Western Hospital in Limerick.
“These managerial appointments should contribute to a more effective management of patients presenting at the emergency department this winter, as well as providing better communication for their families attending with them.
“Ensuring prompt initial senior clinical assessment, prompt access to diagnostics and specialist medical opinion, as well as optimising patient flow from the ED to wards for admissions, would help to alleviate the bottlenecks which are currently being experienced,” he said.
Deputy Breen noted further developing outpatient and day surgical services in Ennis would help to reduce the need for people to have to travel into Limerick.
“The introduction of the patient liaison manager, a position which is to be filled in the coming weeks, is an important development.
“Nurses and doctors are doing an excellent job and they should be able to focus on their emergency work. The role of the patient liaison manager will support their work. This person will become the point of contact for patients and their families,” he added
The patient liaison manager for UL Hospitals’ Group is Catherine Hand. The HSE is currently recruiting for a patient liaison manager for the ED in UHL.