For over 275 years, the Rotunda Hospital has been at the forefront of maternity services in Ireland. In Delivering the Future: Reflections of a Rotunda Master, Sam Coulter-Smith celebrates the history of the hospital, with a particular focus on the last thirty years, and explains why voluntary hospitals, with their ability to lead, adapt, research, and provide the best clinical services to their patients, play a vital role in maintaining and improving standards in our health service.
Along with personal stories from a professional life that has revolved around the Rotunda, Prof. Coulter-Smith explores the recent developments in the Irish hospital service, particularly on the back of the Covid-19 pandemic, and how the independence of Ireland’s surviving voluntary hospitals is being stealthily eroded by current government policy and HSE controls, to the detriment of the entire health service. He also examines what we can learn from how our health service has been managed in the past and questions how we can use this learning to plan for a better future.
Foreword by Ruth Barrington
1. The Journey So Far
2. Centre of Excellence
3. In Pursuit of Quality
4. Pushing the Boundaries
5. Obstetrics in Dublin: A Historical Perspective
6. Promoting Innovation
7. Leadership in Practice
8. Health Care and the State
9. The Mastership: Learning to Manage Risk
10. The Mastership: Expecting the Unexpected
11. Shifting Sands: Government Policy and the Hospitals
12. The Latest Developments
13. Stepping Down from the Mastership and Some Personal Reflections
14. Conclusion: Voluntary Hospitals: Delivering the Future
Appendix: Masters of the Rotunda Hospital
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sam Coulter-Smith was born in Dublin in 1962. His parents both worked in the Rotunda Hospital, his mother as a midwife and his father as a young doctor. Sam qualified from RCSI Dublin in 1987, and, having completed his undergraduate training in obstetrics at the Rotunda, he went on to do his initial postgraduate training there before moving on to the UK. He returned to the Rotunda in 1996 as a senior registrar. In 2002 he was appointed as a consultant to the hospital and was elected as master in 2009. He continues to work in the Rotunda as a consultant to this day.