Press release

Award-winning HSE programme improving access to surgical care extending nationally

Published: 16 January 2024

Updated: 29 January 2024


Improved access to surgical care for patients will continue as the HSE’s Transforming Theatre Programme rolls out in more hospitals following a successful pilot in the South West. Using a data-driven approach, the Programme identifies opportunities to improve how surgical theatres are used. This ensures theatres are operating as efficiently as possible and procedures are carried out in the most appropriate setting, freeing up theatre time so that more patients can be seen. 

The 18-month pilot at South / South West Hospital Group (SSWHG) (video) focused on improving patient flow through the operating theatre. In the first six months of 2023, an additional 1,775 patients were treated, compared to the same period in 2022 and has proven to help generate more used theatre hours across the Hospital Group.

Professor Deborah McNamara, Clinical Lead, HSE National Clinical Programme for Surgery, explaining the objectives of the project, said, 

“One of our aims was to improve patient flow through the operating theatre, by providing a structured quality improvement methodology to achieve tangible improvements. The programme took a multidisciplinary approach, helping to engage nursing, anaesthesiology and surgical staff in operating theatre departments to identify and address the barriers to being more efficient."

The pilot was recently awarded the European Innovation Award 2023 by the European Association of Hospital Managers and the HSE Service Excellence Award for Innovation in Service Delivery.  South/South West Hospitals Group’s Professor Mark Corrigan, Clinical Lead and Grace Reidy, Transforming Theatre Programme Lead oversaw the pilot there.

Professor Corrigan said:

“Working on this programme has been an immense privilege. It has personally allowed me to witness the remarkable transformation achieved by empowering our staff across 10 hospitals and 56 operating rooms. Their skill in identifying and driving improvements is exceptional.”

Grace Reidy added: 

“The true reward of everyone’s collective efforts at every level is reflected in the increased number of patients who have already benefited and will continue to benefit from the improvements driven by our staff every day. The commitment demonstrated by everyone involved – surgeons, anaesthetists, nursing staff and managers – in the programme has been extraordinary.”

Based on the success of the pilot, the programme has now been extended nationally as the National Perioperative Patient Pathway Enhancement Programme (NPPPEP). The programme will be rolled out across all hospital groups, coordinated by the HSE Strategic Programmes Office, and is currently being rolled out in Dublin Midlands Hospital Group and Saolta University Healthcare Group.

Welcoming the development, Deirdre McNamara, Director of Strategic Programmes, HSE, said:

“The National Perioperative Patient Pathway Enhancement Programme will enable a more efficient and effective use of operating theatre resources. It supports our commitment to improving the patient experience and health outcomes by reducing waiting lists, ensuring more timely access to services.”


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