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Blackrock Clinic CEO Blog 2021, a Retrospective

2021, a Retrospective

23rd Dec 2021

To give a rounded review of 2021 at Blackrock Clinic, the overriding sentiment that sits with me today is pride. Amidst the many challenges faced by healthcare globally this year, the staff at Blackrock Clinic has treated a record number of patients, with world-class clinical care.

‘The effort made for Hospitals, Patients & State’

Adding to our private patient cohort, during the year the hospital performed many urgent procedures for public hospital patients transferred into our care under the HSE Safety Net Agreement. I reiterate the message relayed in the opening address by the Chairman of the Private Hospitals Association at its 2021 annual conference, which thanked private hospital staff for the ‘effort you have made for the hospitals, for the patients, and for the state’¹. This speaks directly to the extraordinary, multi-layered healthcare work force at Blackrock Clinic.

Pride sits with gratitude to the fantastic teams of individuals who have worked steadfastly through the year’s disruptions to bring us to this point.

Word of the Year – ‘Vaccine’

According to Merriam-Webster, the 2021 word of the year is ‘vaccine’. It has certainly reverberated throughout Blackrock Clinic. Playing our part in the National Vaccination Programme, we organised and executed three extremely successful vaccine clinics, accommodating HSE community services such as cancer charities, dental practices, psychiatry services and many more. This involved training in a new skill set for a team of already very busy nursing staff, and a military approach from our administration.

Major Achievements 2021

Not all of 2021 has been about the pandemic. We have a list of major achievements, with ‘firsts’ both for Dublin and for Ireland. Some of our headlines have been:

Introducing the MAKO Robotic-arm assisted surgical system from Stryker’s Mako SmartRobotics™

The Stryker MAKO Robot was delivered into Blackrock Clinic’s Orthopaedic Department in November, bringing us the latest best-in-class precision technology for robotic surgery. It is currently programmed for hip and knee joint replacement surgery, with further joint replacements, such as shoulder surgery, anticipated. We completed our first MAKO cementless Triathlon Total Knee Replacement procedure recently under Mr Niall Hogan (Orthopaedic Surgeon) and our dedicated team.

We are proud to bring together the largest specially trained team of orthopaedic surgeons in Ireland to avail of the MAKO Robot. This investment is a first for a Dublin hospital and augments our world class orthopaedic repertoire.

Improved Orthopaedic Outcomes

The MAKO Robot complements our commitment to improve orthopaedic clinical outcomes, offering patients reductions in: pain, loss of healthy tissue and bone, and recovery times. As the first private hospital to commit to the Irish National Orthopaedic Register (“INOR”), we are able to benchmark our surgical outcomes against national performance, analyse our outcomes, and add to / learn from the collective national surgical experiences.

Blackrock Clinic introduces Fluorine-18 Prostate Specific Membrane Antigen (F-18 PSMA) PET/CT, the latest and most advanced scan to evaluate prostate cancer

CT Scanning Machine image

In October Blackrock Clinic became the first private hospital in Ireland to offer PSMA PET/CT scanning, and the first Irish hospital to use the highly accurate Fluorine-18 tracer. This is considered ‘very good news for men with prostate cancer’ according to Prof Stephen Connolly, Consultant Urologist at Blackrock Clinic. ‘This simple and effective scan will help to quickly and accurately evaluate prostate cancer, which in turn will lead to better precision in treatment and improvements in outcome.’ 

Blackrock Clinic awarded the Irish Business and Employers Confederation (IBEC) KeepWell Mark™ for Health, Wellbeing & Safety in the Workplace

This summer the hospital celebrated the attainment of this prestigious IBEC accreditation, awarded to support and celebrate organisations which consistently prioritise employee health & wellbeing. Achieved following a stringent evidence-based assessment, this attests to Blackrock Clinic’s commitment to investing in our employee workplace standards.

This success is a huge credit to our HR Department and staff peer group ‘Prosper’ (an entirely extra-curricular volunteer body) who champion the ‘Culture of Safety’ at our corporate heart. It advocates the standards and ethics which every employee (existing and yet to join) can expect from the hospital as a company.

Patient Care

I must equally take into account our achievements under the vast umbrella ‘Patient Care’. This includes a myriad of disciplinary proficiencies such as: Infection Control, Intensive Care, Emergency Care, Out-patient Care, Allied Health etc. The quality of care given to our patients is diligently monitored by our Clinical Governance team, in accordance with our main mission value of ‘clinical excellence and personal care’. Each year we track patient satisfaction, benchmarked through an independently compiled ‘Patient Satisfaction’ survey.

Analysis at the end of 2021 shows Patient Satisfaction reporting impressive, world-class results: 97% for Trust in Staff, 96% for Dignity & Respect, and 93% for patient satisfaction. 

Our GP Community

Appreciation is due to our colleagues in the GP community with whom Blackrock Clinic works closely. Our walk-in services segued to ‘by appointment only’ and back throughout 2021, in accordance with shifting government guidelines and best practice. GP practices have worked with us on this with understanding and professionalism.

Our GP Educational programme had some well received highlights throughout 2021 as we continued our highly effective collaboration with MedCafe.ie who host our popular ‘GP Virtual Clinic Series’. The year kicked off with ‘Managing Long Term Covid’ and concluded with ‘Liver Disease Pearls & Pitfalls’. We have an exciting line up already for 2022, with some outstanding speaker panels and GP centric topics in case study and discussion format.     

Forward trajectory

2021 has been an exceptionally busy year and a pace setter for 2022, in which Blackrock Clinic can promise some exciting reveals.

With a wider view, healthcare in 2022 is forecast to be more about data analytics assisting more health-tech innovations, and faster accelerations. As a leading Irish Hi Tech private hospital equipped with a progressive Board, robust strategies, and commitment to investment, we welcome the next generation of healthcare from a position of strength and flexibility.