We must tap into the management resource in the health service

It sounds something of a euphemism now to say that we live in turbulent times, but any scanning of the media could leave one weighed down by the huge financial problems facing this country, and, by extension, its public services. I say “could” because the choice is ultimately ours, a thought to which I will revert later.

President, Richard Dooley
HMI President, Richard Dooley

The most recent HMI Regional Forum was held in Ardee, Co. Louth on Friday September 17 last. The meeting was addressed by Mr. Pat McLoughlin, CEO Irish Payments Services Organisation and Prof. Shane O Neill, Clinical Director, Beaumont Hospital and Joint Clinical Lead, National Acute Medicine Programme.

The theme of the Forum was “Leadership Challenges in a Changing Environment.” The presentations ranged from “Managers’ Imperatives in Challenging Times” to an overview of the National Acute Medicine Programme. Both presentations provoked a lively discussion by an audience that was highly attuned to difficulties and constraints within the current management systems, culture and structure of health service delivery.

What was abundantly evident from the discussion was the willingness amongst managers present to participate, to contribute and to lead across a range of complex service issues which are now emerging. The need for empowerment was mentioned more than once.

What was abundantly evident from the discussion was the willingness amongst managers present to participate, contribute and lead across a range of complex service issues

What was also palpable was the positivity with which individual contributors approached issues and the availability of opportunities. This brings me back to the matter of personal choice to which I referred earlier. There is a great management resource within health service delivery with an overall “can do” attitude which is exercised daily across thousands of service locations and is evident to those who wish to seek it.  We urgently need to tap into this.

In return for this, and in recognition of its importance and value, the greater professionalisation of health service management should be progressed – something which the Institute has long been urging. The personal choice of “can do” is a powerful motivator and makes a very significant difference to how a service is perceived by those who work in it and by those who receive it.

RICHARD DOOLEY
President, HMI