In preparing the Report on the Establishment of Hospital Groups as a Transition to dependent Hospital Trusts, consideration was given to a wide breadth of international and national academic literature and reviews on relevant issues such as hospital reform, quality health care provision, financial management of health care, academic health linkages and organisational reform. As part of this work, cognisance was taken of the findings of the comparative review carried out by the Health Research Board (HRB) of independent hospital trusts in a number of countries and the factors identified as contributing most to successful trusts. These considerations, and the comprehensive consultation process undertaken with stakeholders, have informed the development of recommendations on the formation of specific groups and arrangements for the management and governance of all groups. These recommendations have been considered and endorsed by a Strategic Board composed of representatives with national and international expertise in health service delivery, governance and linkages with academic institutions.
The formation of hospital groups is fundamentally an organisational change that of itself will not trigger immediate changes in service provision. It will provide a platform for much better strategically planned and more effective changes in service provision to ensure that patient care is improved and certainly not compromised or less adequate in relation to any area in the Country. Lessons learnt from other jurisdictions as well as the learning gained from the operation of the hospital groups will be taken on board in creating the legislative framework for hospital trusts here. The intention is, of course, that the trusts and the reformed health system within which hospital trusts will operate will be designed in a way that best suits Irish requirements and this will be done in a way that seeks to avoid difficulties encountered in other jurisdictions.