Health Minister praises Mater Hospital’s innovative elective care teams

Date published: 21 March 2024

Health Minister Robin Swann has praised the innovation and teamwork of staff at the Elective Overnight Stay Centre (EOSC) in Belfast’s Mater Hospital.

Heath Minister Robin Swann with EOSC team at Mater Hospital
Heath Minister Robin Swann with EOSC team at Mater Hospital

The Mater EOSC and two other overnight stay centres at Daisy Hill Hospital in Newry and the South West Acute Hospital in Enniskillen are playing a significant role in helping to reduce waiting times for patients requiring elective, intermediate complexity surgery.

The EOSCs were established following the Review of General Surgery for Northern Ireland.

Speaking during a visit to the Mater EOSC, Minister Swann said: “Reducing waiting times is a key priority for me.  The establishment of dedicated Elective Care Centres, such as the EOSC at the Mater, forms part of our wider transformation agenda and plays a significant role in tackling our lengthy waiting times.

Minister Swann met surgical theatre staff at the Mater

“We continue to strive to prioritise and maximise the resources available to us by identifying potential areas to deliver more efficient and better services for our patients within the existing Health and Social Care system. By working smarter and using the resources we have better, we can make positive improvements even in very difficult times.

“I am delighted to have this opportunity to see first hand the pivotal role that the Mater is playing in this process. I am very appreciative and supportive of the innovative work undertaken here and it is important for me to thank all of the staff for their hard work and dedication in developing this very efficient EOSC that is delivering much needed services for our long waiting patients.”

Minister Swann met staff at the Mater's EOSC

The EOSC and the Mater’s theatre team have now treated more than 2,700 long waiting elective patients across general surgery, ear, nose and throat (ENT), breast surgery, gynaecology and urology, with overnight stay facilities available four nights per week for patients requiring one to two night stays.

Janet Johnson, Director of Anaesthetics, Critical Care, Theatres, Sterile Services and Surgery at Belfast Trust, said: “The development of the EOSC over the past year has been a really positive step forward for Belfast Trust. It is an excellent example of multi-speciality innovation to provide a facility to treat long waiting elective patients. The teamwork has been fantastic. 

“Technology-led training and upskilling of nurse roles have allowed nursing staff to develop the autonomy to look after a range of specialities in the one ward and provide nurse-led discharge.

Minister Swann met the surgical team at Mater Hospital

“All patient experience surveys in the past year have returned 100% satisfaction rates. The EOSC and theatres teams were delighted to be acknowledged with the Department of Health’s Elective Care Recognition Award last November.”


Notes to editors: 

  1. From left: Aidan Armstrong, Clinical Director, Belfast Trust; Sharon Adamson, Lead Nurse, EOSC; Karen Johnston, Service Manager for General Surgery; Health Minister Robin Swann; Janet Johnson, Director of Anaesthetics, Critical Care, Theatres, and Sterile Services; Louise Beattie, Ward Manager; Martin McCormack, Consultant Anaesthetist and Clinical Director, and Stephen Boyd, Co-Director for Surgery. 
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