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Blackrock Clinic CEO Blog Blackrock Clinic – 30th Anniversary

Blackrock Clinic – 30th Anniversary

1st Apr 2016

Thirty years ago today, Blackrock Clinic opened its doors to patients who wanted access to the newest in cardiac and hi-tech surgical procedures.  It was the first independent private hospital in Ireland with treatments funded wholly by private health insurance or where a patient could choose and pay for their own treatment.

The four Founders – Dr George Duffy, Mr Maurice Neligan (deceased), Mr James Sheehan and Mr Joseph Sheehan – had a vision of a healthcare establishment which would complement and, where possible, supplement the work of the public sector health system.   It would do this with pioneering high-tech surgical procedures, medical treatments and ground-breaking diagnostics.

These men took significant risks – personally, financially and professionally – to realise their vision of Blackrock Clinic.  At the time they had no commitments or support from either the Government or the Vhi and yet, these men pursued their vision because they felt it was the best thing for the patients of Ireland.

This pioneering spirit pervades Blackrock Clinic’s approach to everything.  As a result, the hospital has had a significant impact on hospital care in Ireland in the thirty years it has been open.  It has invested in and introduced new diagnostics, facilities and procedures to Ireland.  Once the risk of pioneering these was mitigated, many would be later introduced into the public sector.

The hospital’s ethos centres on better patient outcomes which, I am very proud to say, are very positive. We know this because we follow the progress of patients from the beginning of their journey with us, to its completion.

For instance, infection rates within Blackrock Clinic are exceptionally low.  There is a downward trend for all infections in the last three years due to protocols and initiatives set in place by the hospital.

Another example is that 96% of Emergency Department patients are either discharged or admitted to the hospital within 6 hours of entering the ED.   This is consistently above the current national target set by the HSE.

Also, this year, 91% of past patients surveyed identified the quality of service at Blackrock Clinic as either very good or excellent.  This level has stayed consistently in the high eighties or early nineties in the last ten years.

Further, we have a reputation for innovation and leading the field.  During our 30-year history, Blackrock Clinic was the first in Ireland to introduce:

  • PET scanning, November 2001;
  • Cardiac CT (Computed Tomography), 2006;
  • Transcatheter Aortic Valve replacement (TAVI), June 2008;
  • Minimally invasive mitral and tricuspid valve repair (a form of keyhole heart surgery), August 2011;
  • Percutaneous Endoscopic discectomy (a form of keyhole spinal surgery), July 15.

Blackrock Clinic was also the first private hospital in Ireland to introduce Peer Reviewing software and procedures to its Radiology Department this year.  This system ensures that anomalies are identified and rectified quickly.

In the last 7 years Blackrock Clinic has invested €150m in expanding the hospital and bringing patients some of the newest and best services which include:

  • Blackrock Clinic’s Emergency Department in September 2010;
  • The Blackrock Clinic Centre for Cardiac MRI opened in January 2012 offering Ireland’s first dedicated cardiac scanner. Today, this is one of the busiest scanners in Europe;
  • In October 2013, €4.5m was invested in a Hybrid Operating Theatre for the performance of angioplasties or EVARs (endovascular aneurysm repairs) via catheter. This approach removes the need for open surgery and reduces, if not halves patient recovery time;
  • In 2014, Blackrock Clinic introduced a number of new facilities and services:
    • a new renal dialysis unit for patients needing this service during their stay;
    • Due to patient demand, a new Emergency Department was opened which was three times the size of the original ED, opened four years previously;
    • €12m was invested in a new state of the art Intensive Care Unit (ICU). It is the only ICU in Ireland to have full-time Consultants in Intensive Care Medicine delivering critical care;
    • €7m was invested in a Central Decontamination Unit (CDU) to sterilise instruments and prevent the spread of infection; the unit includes separate lifts and corridors to segregate the transport of clean and used instruments to ensure no cross-contamination;
    • Blackrock Clinic’s first, branded, private ambulance hit County Dublin’s roads.

On a practical note, as part of the expansion, Blackrock Clinic developed a 9-storey carpark which brings to 520 the number of spaces available within the hospital grounds.  Parking is always an issue around hospitals and we strived to provide as many as possible, onsite.

Aside from all of the above, the thing of which we are most proud in Blackrock Clinic is our staff.  They work hard, yes, but more than anything, they really care for patients. This care consistently delivers high patient satisfaction ratings.  More importantly, it helps patients on their journey and makes them feel human in what can sometimes be very difficult, almost de-humanising circumstances.

We are clear that Blackrock Clinic’s investment in procedures and facilities cannot benefit patients in isolation.  The crucial factor, delivered by our staff, is human kindness and care.

So today, I’d like to mark this anniversary by thanking the staff who help patients and families through trying and difficult times.  Thank you, you are what makes us Blackrock Clinic.


“30 Years on the Blackrock Clinic is still bringing Hi Tech modern healthcare to the population of Ireland” | Interview Chief Executive, Bryan Harty, Vincent Wall, Newstalk Breakfast, 05.04.2016.

Please listen to the interview: