Prof Colette Cowan

Prof Colette Cowan

Chief Executive of the University of Limerick hospital group.

Colette Cowan was appointed Chief Executive Officer of UL Hospitals Group in November 2014. She leads an organisation providing services to some 400,000 people in the Mid-West and with a workforce of approximately 3,500 staff spread across six sites in Limerick, Clare and Tipperary. She is responsible for an annual group budget of €331 million (2016).

Colette brings to the role 28 years of experience in the health services. From Portumna, County Galway, she completed her nursing training at St Vincent’s University Hospital, Dublin, and worked there for five years as an intensive care staff nurse before moving to the then Mid Western Regional Hospital in Nenagh.

In 2007, she was appointed Director of Nursing in Nenagh, the youngest person ever in the country to have filled such a role. In March 2012, she was appointed Director of Nursing at Galway University Hospital before becoming the first Group Director of Nursing and Midwifery and the West North West Hospitals Group (now Saolta University Healthcare Group) eight months later.

Since her appointment as Group CEO, Colette has been leading the reform agenda at UL Hospitals Group as it strives to become one of the top three hospital groups in the country by 2018.

During 2015, UL Hospitals Group became the first group in the country to meet the national PTL targets in respect of outpatient, inpatient and day case waiting times. During her term, she has strengthened the academic and research profile of the group by signing a memorandum of understanding with the University of Limerick. She signed contracts for the fit-out and completion of the new Emergency Department and Dialysis Unit at University Hospital Limerick. Other capital projects completed or having commenced construction during her term of office have included the Leben Building and Clinical Education and Research Centre at UHL while planning is now underway for the relocation of University Maternity Hospital Limerick and the development of a 96-bedded inpatient block at UHL.

Firmly committed to patient advocacy and empowerment, Colette has established a Patients Council at UL Hospitals Group and authorised the development of new patient feedback metrics. As Group CEO, Colette reports to the HSE’s National Director of Acute Services, with the Group’s planning and performance measured under the Accountability Framework of the HSE. Colette is chairperson of the National Hospital Group CEO Forum and sits on a number of other groups and task forces at national level. These include the Department of Health (DoH), Policy on Trauma Network, Ferns 4 National Paediatric Medical Forensic Implementation Group , the Reform Communications and Culture Oversight Group and the National Patient Experience Survey Programme.

Colette is adjunct Professor of Nursing and Midwifery at NUI Galway. She is currently studying for an MSc in business and management at the Institute of Public Administration. She lives in Portumna with daughters Niamh, a student nurse in NUI Galway and Lauren, a second level student.



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