Hospital Group Patient Council gives voice to the public

UL Hospitals Group Patient Council Chairman John Hannafin. Photo: Brian Arthur

A STRONG voice for patients in the planning and delivering acute hospital services in the MidWest is the key objective of the new Patient Council at the UL Hospitals Group.

Established in 2016, the council’s primary purpose is to enable patients and their relatives become active partners in UL Hospitals Group.

Following a call for expressions of interest, five new members have been recruited to the newly constituted Patient Council this year.

The council advises the Hospital Group on ways to improve services for those who use any of its six hospitals. It comprises 11 members of the public and eight UL Hospitals Group staff.

Council chairman John Hannafin said that in recent years, the Department of Health and the HSE have expressed a desire for more efficient and effective care for patients and families accessing hospital services. Patient representatives are participating in a consultative capacity at hospital group level and on regional and national forums.

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“The UL Hospitals Group Patient Council is a very good example of the desire to involve patients and relatives in contributing to further enhancing excellent standards and quality of care as evidenced by the patient participation surveys of the past couple of years. The Patient Council is a partnership of public/voluntary and hospitals staff mandated to contribute to the goal of patient wellness.”

Mr Hannafin added: “In 2019, the public/voluntary members and HSE the staff members are bringing new and exciting prospects, building on the modest achievements of the first years of the Council’s work. The UL Hospitals Group Patient and Public Participation Strategy includes a significant role for the Patient Council that will have positive outcomes for patients and families into the future”.

UL Hospital Group Chief Director of Nursing and Midwifery Margaret Gleeson, who is Vice-Chairperson of the council, said that only by having truly meaningful engagement can the trust be built to work together to improve services.

“The public members of the council have a wealth of experience in industry, in management and administration, in healthcare and in many other walks of life. Most importantly, all bring that perspective of having either themselves been patients in UL Hospitals Group or having been on that journey with their loved ones.”

Members of the Patient Council are already making a contribution in improving services through their involvement in various committees and projects within UL Hospitals Group.

This has included work on planning the new Emergency Department in UHL and the 60-bed inpatient block that is currently under construction. Members of the Council are actively involved in various committees including end-of-life care, nutrition and hydration, directional signage/wayfinding, patient flow and on developing improvement plans in response to the findings of the National Patient Experience Survey.

The Council has a formal reporting relationship to the Quality Improvement Committee within UL Hospitals Group.


Melody Buckley, Public Member, Lisnagry, County Limerick.

Dr Gerry Burke, Chief Clinical Director (Interim), UL Hospitals Group

Kay Caball, Public Member, Limerick City

Mike Dwane, Communications Officer, UL Hospitals Group

Catherine English, Public Member, Bruff, County Limerick

Jill Franz, Public Member, Newmarket-on-Fergus, County Clare

Margaret Gleeson (vice-chair), Chief Director of Nursing and Midwifery, UL Hospitals Group

John Hannafin (chair), Public Member, Southill, Limerick

Miriam McCarthy, Patient Advocacy and Liaison Services Manager, UL Hospitals Group

Declan McNamara, Director of Nursing, Perioperative Directorate, UL Hospitals Group

Tammy Meaney, Public Member, Shannon, County Clare

Donal O’Brien, Public Member, Pallaskenry, County Limerick

Dr Nuala O’Connell, Consultant Microbiologist, UL Hospitals Group

Niamh O’Grady, Operational Services Directorate, UL Hospitals Group

John O’Neill, Public Member, Doonbeg, County Clare

Marina Rankin,Diagnostics Directorate, UL Hospitals Group

Judy Ryan, Public Member, Cashel, County Tipperary

Michael Ryan, Public Member, Bruff, County Limerick

Michael Sheehan, Public Member, Parteen, County Clare

Bernie O’Malley/Kaoife McElligott, UL Hospitals Group (secretary to the Patient Council)