New clinical director planning to step up activity at hospitals group

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New Chief Clinical Director for UL Hospitals Group.

AN orthopaedic  surgeon with a special interest in spinal surgery has been appointed as chief clinical director of the UL Hospitals Group.

Professor Brian Lenehan, who is a member of the UL Hospital Group’s Covid-19 crisis management team, said it was a very challenging time to take up his new position.

“Now that we appear to be emerging from the worst of Covid-19, we are planning how we can gradually and safely increase scheduled care activity within the hospital group while remaining conscious that we may have to stand up our Covid-19 capacity again at short notice,” Prof Lenehan said.

A Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon at University Hospital Limerick (UHL) since 2009, he succeeds Dr Paul Burke who announced his retirement last week.

Prof Lenehan was educated in St Aloysius College, Athlone, and graduated from the UCD School of Medicine in 1997. He completed his higher surgical training in trauma and orthopaedics with the RCSI in 2008 and his specialist fellowship training in adult spinal surgery at Vancouver General Hospital in Canada.

He said he was keen to take on the role of Chief Clinical Director at this stage rather than towards the end of his career.

“I am being supported in balancing my administrative functions with my clinical workload and it is important for my patients and for my GP colleagues to know that I am not stepping back entirely from clinical practice and that I am still accepting GP outpatient referrals and seeing patients.

“I feel that if I continue to be close to where the care is being delivered, I can be more effective in my role in linking our clinicians with the larger management team. I am very much looking forward to it,” said Prof Lenehan.

“We have throughout the Covid-19 Pandemic seen high numbers of presentations to our Emergency Department both Medical and Surgical. We have fundamentally changed how we deliver care within the UL Hospitals Group. Emergency and trauma surgery cases have continued throughout the pandemic but scheduled care has been significantly curtailed.

“As a surgeon, I am acutely aware that we need to start bringing in patients for their procedures, for their appointments and for their consultations as soon as possible”.

UL Hospitals Group chief executive Colette Cowan, said that the Covid-19 crisis had brought out the best in the senior clinicians at UHL.

“Prof Lenehan has shown exemplary leadership in recent weeks and months and I am delighted that he has accepted the post of Group Chief Clinical Director. Even as we look to restore services in the coming weeks, we must start to look beyond COVID-19 and continue our strategic planning to improve care in the region. Prof Lenehan’s experience and advice will be invaluable in that regard,” she said.

In the 11 years since joining the UL Hospitals Group, Prof Lenehan has held a number of  senior positions, including Administrative Head Department of Trauma & Orthopaedics; Regional Clinical Lead Trauma & Orthopaedic Clinical Programme and, since 2019, Associate Clinical Director, Perioperative Directorate.

He has been the Clinical Lead for a number of important service developments in the MidWest, including the establishment in the region of the Irish National Orthopaedic Register, Trauma Assessment Clinics and Orthopaedics and Rheumatology MSK Triage Programme. Prof Lenehan also sits on the Training Committee and Council of the Irish Institute for Trauma and Orthopaedic Surgery, RCSI.

Prof Lenehan has more than 60 peer-reviewed publications. He was appointed Adjunct Senior Lecturer at the University of Limerick Graduate Entry Medical School (GEMS) in 2011 and Adjunct Clinical Professor in GEMS in 2019.