Blackrock Clinic Celebrates 25 Years Today
6th Apr 2011
Blackrock Clinic today celebrates its 25th Anniversary. Since its launch in April 1986, the Blackrock Clinic has been the first to deliver a range of new surgical procedures, medical treatments and diagnostic tests for Irish patients. The hospital itself was the first to introduce PET scanning to Ireland, the first to introduce Cardiac CT in 2006 and the first to carry out transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVI) in Ireland in June 2008; the hospital is also the first to have appointed a Director with the sole remit of Clinical Governance.
Today, the hospital is in the midst of a €100m expansion project which adds three new floors and 42% more beds to the existing hospital facility. This will bring the total number to 170 and make the Blackrock Clinic the leading major acute hospital to accommodate all inpatients in single rooms which reduces the risk of hospital acquired infections. All original rooms are being fully refurbished. Blackrock Clinic also has a new Emergency Department and a Day Surgery Unit which has doubled the hospital’s day surgery capacity. An extension of the Intensive Care Unit and Catheterisation Laboratory will also soon be complete.
The founders of the hospital were consultants Dr George Duffy, Mr Maurice Nelligan, Mr Jimmy Sheehan and Mr Joseph Sheehan. Sadly, Mr Maurice Nelligan passed away last year. The founders transformed aspects of healthcare in Ireland by creating a new model of healthcare delivery. New procedures and technologies couldn’t have developed as they did in Ireland without private investment and the financial risks taken by this group of consultants. Areas of public healthcare services could then follow when the start up risks and learning process had been successfully completed. Blackrock Clinic’s founders were driven by frustration with the Irish health system in the 80s and the lack of facilities available.
Together they took the bold step of developing a private hospital to provide cardiac investigations, cardiac surgery and joint replacement, despite having no specific support or guarantee from either the VHI or Department of Health when they publicly announced their plans. “Each of the founders had the expertise to perform high-tech surgery and medicine to international standards but there were no facilities in Ireland for our respective specialisms. We knew we had to invest time and money into Blackrock to modernise the procedures available to Irish patients, because if we didn’t do it ourselves, it wouldn’t happen” said Mr Joseph Sheehan. “In addition to the founders, a number of people have been dedicated to Blackrock Clinic’s success. Such dedication is reflected in the consultants who invested in the original suites and the 24 staff who have been with the Clinic for the full 25 years” he concluded.
Nearly fifteen years after Blackrock Clinic opened, Dr George Duffy once again overcame innumerable obstacles to be the first to deliver PET scanning to Ireland (the only OECD country which hadn’t yet invested in this clinically proven service). Ireland now outperforms the UK with close to double the number of PET scans performed per year. Says Dr Duffy of the project: “The business case didn’t stack up since there was no public funding available for the scans. With much determination and financial support from five Irish business people we managed to pull the scanning project together because we all believed it was something that the Irish people needed to have, and went ahead on that basis. It is a tragedy that Maurice Nelligan is not with us to celebrate this milestone.”
Today, personnel at Blackrock Clinic perform pioneering services and procedures in the areas of Cardiac MRI and Cardiac CT, transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVI), PET scanning, Bariatric surgery, knee replacement and hip replacement. “The founders of Blackrock Clinic were remarkable visionaries who have achieved a great deal to benefit all Irish patients. Today at Blackrock Clinic we strive to perpetuate the pioneering and progressive ethos of the founders. This ensures the institution continues as the most advanced, sector-leading hospital and clinic in Ireland,” said Bryan Harty, CEO, Blackrock Clinic.