"Across the developed world spending on healthcare is increasing. The challenge is to manage these increases while continuing to meet patient needs"

Dr Susan Thomas, Health Partner at EY UK and Ireland on the challenges facing the Irish healthcare sector.

14th January, 2019
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What's your name?

Susan Thomas

What position do you hold?

I lead the healthcare practice across the UK and Ireland at EY. I also am responsible for managing quality and risk across the advisory practice in the UK and Ireland.

What are your day to day responsibilities?

The health practice at EY is focused on improving the quality of healthcare delivered across the UK and Ireland. We are a team of around 50 consultants with a mix of operational, clinical and consulting backgrounds. Day to day, we work on engagements, for example, improving the delivery of emergency care, delivering financial stability and helping health and care systems develop their long-term plans.

What is your professional background?

I trained as a doctor and practised in Yorkshire and Sydney, specialising in care of the elderly, before moving into consulting.

Tell us something very few people know about you?

I have a season ticket at Tottenham Hotspur; and it was at the football that I met my husband!

You are speaking at the 2019 Health Summit. What are you speaking about?

I will speak about delivering value in health systems. Ireland, like almost every other health system in the world, is struggling to deliver the services that citizens expect within the budget available and we in EY have helped several organisations to deliver more with less. We call this Performance Optimisation and we help hospitals and other areas of the healthcare system to deliver greater efficiency.

What challenges do you see for the healthcare sector in Ireland?

Cost Containment – across the developed world spending on healthcare is increasing rapidly and this is true in Ireland also. The challenge is to manage these increases to sustainable levels while continuing to meet patient needs.

Technology – Ireland is already behind when it comes to healthcare technology. The big challenge that I see if the ability to adopt the right healthcare technology and avoiding the mistakes made in other places.

SlainteCare – this is a great opportunity but also a challenge. Implementing and delivering the ambitious SlainteCare program while maintaining business as usual will be a major challenge, but something that the system has to achieve.

Where would you like to see the health service in 10 years time?

It’s so hard to predict what might happen. I would like to see a focus on health and wellbeing and illness prevention rather than treatment; joined up use of technology so citizens can actively manage their own health; and much more care and treatment at home, in the community and away from the acute hospital setting, where possible.

Dr Susan Thomas is speaking at the 15th national Health Summit on February 7, 2019 at Croke Park. Full details are available at www.healthsummit.ie

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