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Value of Hospital Groups ‘to be clarified’ — outgoing Cork University Hospital CEO

The outgoing CEO of Cork University Hospital (CUH) has said the value of the Hospital Group system “remains to be clarified”.

Mr Tony McNamara was speaking to the Medical Independent (MI) at the recent Future Health Summit in Dublin, where he discussed an international partnership between CUH and the NHS around radiation oncology services.

Last month, it was announced that Mr McNamara, who has been CEO at CUH for 27 years, would be retiring from his position at the end of June. He will take up a role in the private sector.

Asked by MI for his opinion on the current Hospital Group model, he said: “I think the Hospital Groups are still in transition. I think the added value that the Hospital Groups can bring remains to be clarified.

“They are only in situ for the last couple of years, so I think there is some way to go before we can see how they can add value to the overall delivery of services.”

Asked about recent changes at the HSE, including the establishment of a board and the appointment of Mr Paul Reid as the new Director General (DG), Mr McNamara said the DG should be supported.

“Well, I suppose the emergence of new governance structures in the HSE, with broader representation at the governance level, has to be a good thing,” Mr McNamara told MI.

“The challenges have been set out by the new Director General himself in his most recent statement and I think it behooves us all to support the new Director General in his endeavours to shape the health service in the way that the new board sees fit.”

Mr McNamara has been CEO of CUH since 1992 and has been a member of various national advisory and consultancy bodies for the Department of Health, including the National Cardiovascular Strategy Group (1998).

Commenting on Mr McNamara’s retirement from CUH, Mr Gerry O’Dwyer, CEO of the South/South West Hospital Group, said: “We sincerely thank him for his outstanding service to the hospital and wish him every success in future endeavours.”

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