Patient centred care in the heart of the midlands

A new chapter in the history of quality surgical services provision in Mullingar and the wider midlands opened last November when Charter Medical Group bought St Francis Private Hospital. Since it acquired the 77-bed surgical hospital in Ballinderry, which has now been rebranded as Charter Medical Private Hospital, its new owners have been busy upgrading facilities and hiring new staff, including 17 new consultants across various specialities. Conveniently located in the heart of the midlands, the hospital provides a wide range of surgical care across a broad spectrum of specialities including general surgery, ENT, Orthopaedics, Gynaecology, Urology, Ophthalmology, Maxillofacial, Dental, Dermatology and GI Endoscopy.

Other diagnostic services include: X-Ray, Ultrasound, MRI, Dexa, PFT laboratory and outpatient cardiology. “It really is a new beginning for the hospital and it’s dedicated staff,” General Manager Kathriona Screeney says. “Charter Medical Group is well respected in the Dublin area for clinical excellence and patient focus, and we are very excited at being able to provide the same level of expertise and patient-centred care to the people of the midlands.” “Our experienced team of Consultants and nurses provide access to clinical services in a caring and child friendly environment that caters for the needs of all our adult and paediatric patients.” Charter Medical has given the exterior and grounds a facelift, but the changes and investment in the hospital are far more than cosmetic.

Susan Cummins, Quality and Risk Manager; Jessica Farrell, HR Manager;Conall Fitzgerald, Facilities Manager; Kathriona Screeney, GeneralManager; Heather Troy, Business Development Manager and LouiseConnolly, Financial Controller

The hospital will be entering into an agreement with a local physiotherapy firm to provide on-site physiotherapy for patients and members of the public. The hospital promotes a culture of innovation and became the first in Ireland to use artificial intelligence assisted (AI) technology in its GI Endoscopy Department. The state-of-the-art technology is an additional quality measure that supports the consultant in detecting abnormal polyps. “It will never replace the expertise of the consultant, but there is a space there for AI in healthcare to improve patient outcomes,” Ms Screeney says. Another one of the new services developed by Charter Medical in recent months is the Direct Access Endoscopy Service.

It enables people who may be on long waiting lists for colorectal screening or other gastrointestinal issues to go to their GPs for a referral and have their scopes done within two to three days. While the hospital caters for people with private healthcare, patients can also access the service as self-payers. “Our direct access endoscopy service has become increasingly busy due to public waiting list times at present. Patients want peace of mind and fast access to services, and we can provide that. People living in Westmeath or neighbouring counties don’t have to travel to Dublin or Galway when they can have the same service carried out on their doorstep,” Ms Screeney says. In addition to the recruitment of almost 20 new consultants, the hospital is also about to launch a new recruitment drive for doctors and nurses to join its expanding team. “We are very focused on developing our team and supporting their wellbeing, maintaining a positive working environment is very important to me. We operate an open-door policy for staff.

No issue is too small, if they need support, they get it. We are committed to hiring the right people to compliment the patient-centred approach to everything we do.” Ms Screeney says. With a growing number of more than 120 healthcare professionals and support staff, many of whom have worked in the hospital for years if not decades, Charter Medical is a major employer in the Mullingar area and has deep roots in the community. “We are delighted to announce that we are going to be Mullingar RFC’s official main sponsor. Conall Fitzgerald, our facilities manager, is the president of the club, and many of our staff are either members or have family involved in some way. We are looking forward to a long and fruitful partnership with one of the most progressive sporting clubs in the region,” Ms Screeney says.

Looking ahead, Charter Medical Private Hospital is confident that its name will soon become synonymous with top class private healthcare in the region, not only with residents of Mullingar and the rest of Westmeath, but also people living in counties such as Longford, Meath, Cavan, Roscommon and Offaly. In many respects the hospital’s patients have the best of both worlds when they attend Charter Medical Private Hospital in Mullingar: they have the intimacy of a country hospital and everything that goes with that, such as free parking and less time spend in traffic, plus settled, locally based staff, combined with first class facilities and high levels of patient care. Instead of patients having to spend time and accrue the costs of travelling to Galway, Cork or Dublin, Charter Medical Private Hospital is dedicated to giving the people of the midlands the opportunity to access high quality private healthcare close to home.