HSE Appoint Acting UL Hospital Group CEO

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The HSE is to appoint Sonya Cotter as the acting CEO of the UHL hospital group commencing on Wednesday.

The HSE says the current CEO, Professor Colette Cowan who was appointed in 2014 has gone on leave.

The hospital group manages six hospitals including University Hospital Limerick (UHL), Ennis Hospital, Nenagh Hospital, Croom Orthopaedic Hospital, University Maternity Hospital Limerick and St Johns in Limerick.

The change in lead management follows the worst week for overcrowding at UHL, the Midwest’s acute hospital. The INMO reported 138 patients recorded as waiting on trolleys at the hospital on 6 February, followed by 150 waiting on 7 February.

Health Minister Stephen Donnelly  says the trolley numbers are unacceptable based on the increased staff numbers including additional emergency department consultants. Minister Donnelly accepts that the hospital had the second worst discharge rate at weekends of any hospital in the country.

Clinical and corporate governance of UHL is also coming under the spotlight as part of an investigation into the tragic death of 16-year-old Aoife Johnston, Co Clare, at the hospital in December 2022.

An internal report found that there was a 12-hour delay in identifying that she had developed sepsis. Former Chief Justice Frank Clarke is to complete his investigation by the end of March.