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The HSE is currently searching for a new head of the Special Delivery Unit (SDU), the Medical Independent (MI) can report.
However, a spokesperson for the Executive said there was no specific timeline to fill the post, and that the appointment would be made “in due course”.
The ex-head of the SDU, Ms Grace Rothwell, was appointed as General Manager of University Hospital Waterford earlier this year.
Since Ms Rothwell left the role, Ms Sonya Cotter has been interim head of the unit.
Ms Cotter has senior management experience in patient flow as former Head of Bed Management in Cork University Hospital and as a Service Improvement Lead in the SDU, where she has led on a number of initiatives, including winter planning.
Ms Cotter has a clinical background in nursing and has further qualifications in using Lean systems to support service and value improvement.
The HSE spokesperson told MI there are currently six staff working in the unit.
Aside from the need to appoint a permanent SDU head, there are two vacancies in the Unit and a recruitment process is currently underway to fill these positions.
The spokesperson also pointed out that the budget allocated to the SDU has increased substantially over the last number of years.
In 2017, the annual budget of the unit was €150,000. This increased to €500,000 in 2018 and to €704,500 in 2019.
According to the spokesperson: “The budget increases in 2017 and 2018 relate to an increase in the number of staff (whole-time equivalents) recruited to work in the SDU.”
As a result of the restructuring within the HSE, the SDU is now part of the HSE’s National Services Directorate, not the Acute Operations Directorate, where it was previously located.
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