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News and Events

1st Annual Workshop of the RESTORE project - 16 November 2021

Registration is now open for the 1st annual workshop of the RESTORE project (a HRB Research Leader Award) on the morning of 16th November 2021. Please click here to register. The workshop, titled: “Measuring and building heath system resilience”, will feature speakers from the European Observatory of Health Systems and Policies and the University of Tampere, Finland alongside Prof Steve Thomas and colleagues from the Centre for Health Policy and Management, TCD.

Dr Sarah Barry named new Director of Centre

Our incoming Director, Dr Sarah Barry, pictured here with outgoing Director Prof Steve Thomas and Prof Tom D'Aunno from New York University 

We are delighted to announce that Dr Sarah Barry, Assistant Professor of Health Services Management, is the new Director of the Centre for Health Policy and Management taking over from Prof Steve Thomas. Sarah assumed her new position on 1 April 2021.

Dr Bridget Johnston wins Applied Partnership Award from HRB

Dr Bridget Johnston was awarded a Health Research Board Applied Partnership Award worth €240,598 to undertake a three-year research programme examining the introduction of a universal entitlement to palliative care to inform strategic planning and implementation of Slaintecare. The title of her study is: Progressing Sláintecare delivery from proposal to implementation: Insights from palliative care in Ireland

Her multiple-methods study will explore what Ireland can learn from other countries regarding universal entitlement to healthcare through a palliative care lens. It will examine the supply-side factors to be addressed in meeting Sláintecare proposals as well as barriers and facilitators to realising these reforms in practice.

For more information, please go to this link.

COVID-19 Health Systems Response Monitor

A team of researchers in the Centre have been contributing weekly to the documenting of European health systems’ response to COVID-19 as part of a joint project by the WHO Regional Office for Europe, the European Commission, and the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies. The COVID-19 Health System Response Monitor (HSRM) has been designed in response to the COVID-19 outbreak to collect and organise up-to-date information on how countries are responding to the crisis. It focuses primarily on the responses of health systems but also captures wider public health initiatives.

The Centre team is led by Dr Sara Burke with contributions over the last year by Dr Malgorzata Stach, Rikke Siersbaek, Catherine O'Donoghue and Sarah Parker.

Strengthening Health Systems Resilience Policy Brief

Our own Prof Steve Thomas and colleagues just published (on 18 June 2020) a policy brief for the WHO European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies exploring health systems resilience during shocks like COVID-19 and economic downturns. It is important reading for anyone interested in how health systems can prepare for, recover from and learn from crises.

Key findings include the following strategies for enhancing health system resilience:

  • Governance: effective and participatory leadership with strong vision and communication; coordination of activities across government and key stakeholders; an organizational learning culture that is responsive to crises; effective information systems and flows; and surveillance enabling timely detection of shocks and their impact.
  • Financing: ensuring sufficient monetary resources in the system and flexibility to reallocate and inject extra funds; ensuring stability of health system funding through countercyclical health financing mechanisms and reserves; purchasing flexibility and reallocation of funding to meet changing needs; and comprehensive health coverage.
  • Resources: appropriate level and distribution of human and physical resources; ability to increase capacity to cope with a sudden surge in demand; and motivated and well-supported workforce.
  • Service delivery: alternative and flexible approaches to deliver care.

New Edward Kennedy Chair of Health Policy and Management

After a thorough international search, a new Edward Kennedy Chair of Health Policy and Management has been selected and appointed. We are delighted to announce that the choice is our Centre Director, Professor Steve Thomas! Steve comes to the position with an impressive record in research, leadership, post-graduate teaching and supervision and providing evidence for policy change nationally and internationally. With his recent Research Leader Award from the Health Research Board, Steve's substantial contribution to Irish health research and policy making is set to continue.  

How is the Irish health system responding to Covid-19?

Centre staff are engaged in rapid learning about the effects of the Covid-19 crisis on the Irish health system and the responsiveness of our health service in dealing with unprecedented demand. Recently Steve Thomas, Sarah Barry and Sara Burke and colleagues published a blog post  charting Ireland's response to the pandemic so far.

Centre staff have also contributed to the new WHO Health System Response Monitor Covid-19 specific page which has just been launched to monitor the policy responses to the pandemic.

Prof Steve Thomas wins research leader award from Health Research Board

Centre Director Professor Steve Thomas is one of five recipients of the prestigious research leader award from the HRB just announced on 31 March 2020. Recognised as a leader in Irish research with strong partnerships with the health and policy making sectors, Prof Thomas' project will take place over five years.

The goal of the research is to support the effective and thorough implementation of the Sláintecare reform programme. The research will examine key challenges facing the progress of the reform in the light of health system shocks and burdens on staff. It will highlight strategies to facilitate success.

Research projecting long-term nursing home care requirements debunks the ageing time bomb

Dr Sara Burke and researcher Thuy Dung Nguyen gave a key note address to the Nursing Homes Ireland (NHI) Annual Conference 2019 on 14 November 2019 in City West Hotel.
They presented findings from research they carried out earlier in 2019 for Nursing Homes Ireland. The NHI conference was opened by Minister Simon Harris.

The research entitled "Assessing current and future requirements for long-term nursing home care for people over 65 years of age in Ireland"; finds that the number of long term nursing home care residents over 65 years will increase from 22,200 in 2019, representing 3.2% of the older Irish population to about 30,500 people in 2031, representing 3.05%. These projections are lower than previous projections utilising a model which takes into account healthy ageing. Their key findings include that ageing is not a time bomb and can be moderated by effective public policy measures.

Dr Lorna Roe begins new HRB funded study

A new HRB funded study led by Dr Lorna Roe, of the Centre for Health Policy and Management,  will explore the care of older adults living with frailty and cognitive impairment for the first time. It's widely acknowledged that services and supports are inadequate, and the needs of older adults are poorly understood. The study "The Frail Brain and the Frail Body: Impact of FRAILty and COGnitive impairment on trajectories, patterns and costs in care in old age (FRAIL-COG)" will use data from The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA) to examine the health trajectories of older adults living with concurrent frailty and cognitive impairment, and model how these trajectories determine the use and cost of health and social care; hours of informal care provided and the degree of functional decline. FRAIL-COG will provide valuable insights into the complex needs of older adults and identify gaps in service provision. The Health Service Executive (HSE) are knowledge partners in this project, ensuring a clear route for dissemination which will inform future service planning.

Sara Burke and Bridget Johnston speak at event hosted by the Sláintecare Implementation Office and the Health Reform Alliance

A town health stakeholder engagement for the community and voluntary sector was hosted in the Department of Health on 16 October. Minster Simon Harris addressed the event and Dr Sara Burke gave the key note address on the opportunities of Sláintecare. Dr Bridget Johnson participated in a Q&A session with Laura Magahy, Executive Director of the Sláintecare Implementation Office and Grainne Healy who is leading on Sláintecare stakeholder engagement.

Donal De Buitleir presented at the SPHeRE peer learning event hosted by Trinity on 4 October in Regent House.

Year 3 SPHeRE scholars Rikke Siersbaek (Centre for Health Policy and Management, Trinity) and Darren O’Rourke (Maynooth) opened the annual SPHeRE peer learning session. Rikke Siersbaek outlined the Centre’s involvement in the development of Sláintecare while Darren O’Rourke presented the key findings from the Donal De Buitleir report. Then Donal de Buitleir shared his reflections on the proposals to remove private practice from public hospitals. A simulated policy exercise for year 1 SPHeRE scholars was facilitated by Dr Bridget Johnston.

Dr James O'Mahony of the TCD Centre for Health Policy and Management was recently appointed to the National Screening Advisory Committee (NSAC).

The committee was convened on the recommendation of Dr Gabriel Scally following his investigation of the recent CervicalCheck controversy. NSAC held its first session on November 18th 2019 and will meet quarterly to advise the Minister for Health on changes to screening services in Ireland. Dr O'Mahony's appointment to the committee is in his capacity as a health economist. James has published research on the cost-effectiveness of cancer screening services, including cervical and colorectal cancer screening. He has a research interest in the extent to which cost-effectiveness evidence influences policy makers. Dr O'Mahony hopes his appointment will help strengthen the use health economic evidence in enhancing screening services in Ireland.

Dr Sara Burke begins new Health Research Board funded project that will help guide the design and roll-out of the new Regional Integrated Care Areas (RICAs) announced by Minister Simon Harris in July 2019

Awarded under the Applied Partnership Award programme this project will actively support the work of the Sláintecare implementation office who, along with the Health Service Executive, are partners in the project. The project is structured around a co-design approach that will actively feed international and national, theory, knowledge and experience into the policy implementation process

HRB press release

More information on this project can be found here

Research Fellow (post-doc)/Research Assistant (pre-doc)

Job opening in the Centre for an early career role in health services research and policy to conduct analyses on palliative and end-of-life care in Ireland.

Application Deadline: 1st of November 2019

Contact: Peter May email:

For further information please click at the following link

Prof Steve Thomas gives Boehm Lecture on Public Health and Healthcare

On the 6th of March, Centre Director Steve Thomas gave the Boehm Lecture at the University of Toronto Dalla Lana School of Public Health on the topic of Sláintecare, the Irish ten-year plan for health reform through political consensus. His keynote address was followed by a panel discussion with additional panel members Dr Rueben Devlin, Carolyn Hughes Tuohy and Julie Drury. A video of the keynote and the panel discussion can be viewed here.

The slides from the presentation can be downloaded here

Prof Steve Thomas presents to European Commission

Centre Director Steve Thomas is currently consulting on an ongoing year-long project with the Expert Group on Health Systems Performance Assessment in the European Commission to share his expertise on health systems resilience. He presented to the Expert Group on 12 February 2019 sharing findings from Centre research on the resilience of the Irish health systems during the financial crisis and how and to what extend it withstood the shocks caused by the crisis. A full agenda of the meeting can be found here. In collaboration with the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies he will also be producing a policy brief on the same topic to guide resilience in the face of future crises across European health systems.

Public Lecture: Accountable Care Organisations’ in the USA - Useful Lessons for Ireland and Universal Health Care

Professor Tom D’Aunno visiting lecture from the Wager Graduate School of Public Service.

Date: Monday 12th of November 2018

Time: 1.30pm-3.30pm

Location: Long Room Hub, Trinity College

For further information and to register please click at the following link

Upcoming seminar: Implementing universal healthcare – from paper to practice

The final seminar of the HRB funded Mapping the Pathways to Universal Healthcare project will take place on Wednesday 26 September in Trinity College. Our research findings will be presented and there will opportunities for dialogue and questions. We look forward to an engaging morning! The full agenda and registration is at the link below.

When: Wednesday 26 September, 8.30am – 1pm
Where: Innovation Academy, Trinity College Dublin, 3-4 Foster Place, Dublin 2

Managing Health & Social Care for Life – But Not as We Know It!

The Centre for Health Policy and Management, TCD, invites you to the MSc in Health Services Management ‘June Guests Event 2018’.  The panel of expert speakers will take a ‘future scope’ on delivering health and social care services for an emerging health system landscape – Imagine 2030! This free events takes place in the Mháirtin Ui Chadhain Theatre, Arts Building, Trinity College Dublin, on Thursday the 7th of June 2018 from 09:00-13:00.  For further information and to register please click on the following link

To view an agenda along with a full lising of our guest speakers please click on the following links;

Pathways Project short listed for Trinity College Registrar’s Civic Engagement Award

The Pathways project research team were shortlisted for the TCD Registrar’s Civic Engagement Award for their contribution to the work of the Oireachtas Committee on the Future of Healthcare. The award is recognises members of Trinity College staff who have demonstrated outstanding achievements in engagement with wider society in their teaching and/or research, those who have played an active role in civic engagement in Trinity either through community-based research and/or community-based learning.

Dr Sara Burke publishes research on new HRB open research platform

One of the first ten articles to be published on the Health Research Board’s new open research platform is the article ‘It’s the economy, stupid! When economics and politics override health policy goals – the case of tax reliefs to build private hospitals in Ireland in the early 2000s’ by Dr Sara Burke. Sara’s research shows that despite a government strategy of increasing public hospital beds during the 2000s, changes to the Finance Act in 2001 and 2002 resulted in a growth in the number of private hospital beds far exceeding the growth in public ones.

HSE Research Award on Aging for Palliative Care research

The Palliative Care Economics (PaCE) research group at the Centre for Health Policy and Management was recently awarded funding of €164,000 under the HSE Research Awards on Ageing for a project entitled ‘The UP Study – Understanding Inequalities in Palliative Care for Older People and Providing for the Future’. The purpose of the HSE Research Awards on Ageing is ‘to enhance population health and wellbeing over the trajectory of ageing by the creation and use of knowledge to ensure Ireland is a good place to grow old’. The study will be led by Prof Karen Ryan of the UCD School of Medicine, supported by co-investigators Dr Peter May, Dr Bridget Johnston and Prof Charles Normand from Health Policy and Management. The aim of this 18 month collaborative project is to use mixed methods to model the palliative care needs of older people in Ireland; calculate associated costs (including costs to service users and effects on financial risk protection); and to provide understanding on why current knowledge regarding best practice on meeting need is not put into practice and what is required to effect change and deliver on equitable palliative care provision for older people. This work will support the work of the recent Sláintecare report in providing detailed resource and financial data to underpin Recommendation 4 that universal palliative care is provided within five years.

TILDA report gives unique insight into end of life experiences of older people

Dr Peter May and Prof Charles Normand are co-authors, along with Dr Christine McGarrigle,
of a new TILDA report providing new insight into and understand of the end-of-life experience of older adults in Ireland. 

Lead author of the report Dr Peter May said: “Our research shows that there is widespread experience of poor health and disability in the last three months of life among TILDA participants, including a high prevalence of modifiable health problems. We need to do more research to improve identification and management of issues such as pain and depression to improve people’s quality of life in their last year.”

Future of Healthcare Conference in Cyprus

Dr Sara Burke presented the background for as well as details of the recent Sláintecare health policy process in Ireland to a group of high level policy makers in Cyprus making similar policy changes toward a universal healthcare system in that country.

Sara’s presentation can be viewed here

Dr James O’Mahony wins Emerging Investigator Award

Dr James O’Mahony, Research Fellow in the Centre for Health Policy and Management, has been approved for a Health Research Board Emerging Investigator Award for Health 2017 under the project title of "Enhancing the Evidence Base for Cost-Effectiveness Analysis in Ireland: Building Improvements from the Intervention-Specific to System-Wide Levels". The award runs for four years from January 2018. This project will involve three components: (i) modelling methods for cancer screening; (ii) continued work with the CERVIVA consortium of HPV-associated disease research; (iii) investigation of the use of cost-effectiveness thresholds in Ireland and abroad in the context of hospital waiting lists. 

We will be welcoming a PhD candidate to the department under this grant. Collaborators on the grant include partners from HIQA, RCSI, Erasmus University Rotterdam, the NTPF, the ESRI and CervicalCheck.

Pathways Seminar 19 September 2017

Pathways to Universal Healthcare seminar took place on 19 September 2017 in the Science Gallery in Trinity College Dublin.

The seminar presented findings from the Pathways to Universal Healthcare research project and reflected on the work of the Oireachtas Committee on the Future of Healthcare. The Pathways project team – Prof Steve Thomas, Dr Sara Burke, Dr Sarah Barry, Dr Bridget Johnston, and Rikke Siersbaek – provided technical support to the Committee in the writing of its report which was published in May 2017.

Our two keynote speakers were;
Roisin Shortall, TD, Chair of the Oireachtas Committee of the Future of Healthcare whose presentation was entitled ‘Sláintecare - reflections from the chair’
Dr Josep Figueras, Director of the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies, head of the 
WHO European Centre on Health Policy whose presentation was entitled ‘Situating the Sláintecare report in an international context and lessons for implementation’.

4th Global Forum on Human Resources for Health

The 4th Global Forum on Human Resources for Health was held in Dublin from 13-17 November 2017. The conference planning committee was led by Centre staff Charles Normand and Sheena Cleary, along with other partners. Co-hosts alongside Trinity College Dublin included the World Health Organization, the Global Health Workforce Network, Irish Aid, the Department of Health and the Health Service Executive. The Forum represented a unique opportunity to engage a multisectoral group of actors across the education, finance, health and labour sectors; multilateral and bilateral agencies; academic institutions; health professional associations and civil society, in a coherent advocacy platform. More detail available here.

Oireachtas Committee on the Future of Healthcare

From November 2016 to May 2017, a team of researchers - Prof Steve Thomas, Dr Sara Burke, Dr Sarah Barry, Dr Bridget Johnston, and Rikke Siersbaek - from the Centre provided technical support for the Oireachtas Committee on the Future of Healthcare. Initially, the team hosted three workshops with the Committee and then assisted the Committee with its remit ‘to devise cross-party agreement on a single long-term vision for health care and direction of health policy in Ireland’.
On the 30 May 2017, the Committee published its final report. According the Committee’s chairperson, Roisin Shortall TD, ‘the formation of the Oireachtas Committee on the Future of Healthcare provided a unique and historic opportunity for TDs from across the political spectrum to come together to develop consensus on a long-term policy direction for Ireland’s healthcare system. Our task has been to consider how best to ensure that, in future, everyone has access to an affordable, universal, single-tier healthcare system, in which patients are treated promptly on the basis of need, rather than ability to pay’.
An overview of the Committee’s work process and the report’s recommendations can be found in the Oireachtas News press release. View full video of report launch here.

Dr Sarah Barry named new Course Director for the MSc in Health Services Management

Dr Sarah Barry was recently appointed Assistant Professor and on 1 June 2017 she took over as the Course Director for the MSc. Leaving her previous position as the Assistant Director Teaching and Learning for the SPHeRE programme, Sarah brings a wealth of knowledge and experience which will benefit our students for years to come.