September 2017 | Meán Fómhair 2017

2017 Healthcare Management Graduation Ceremony

Tue, 19 September 17 18:22

Congratulations to the graduates of our Graduate Diploma in Healthcare (Risk Management and Quality) and Professional Certificate in Medico-legal Aspects of Healthcare, who were conferred with their awards on Tuesday 5th September 2017 in the UCD Charles Institute.  The Dean of Medicine and Head of School, Professor Patrick Murray presented diplomas to a total of 16 students who have completed this highly successful programme which is now in its 22nd year.

A total of 407 students have completed the innovative Clinical Risk Management and Quality programme since its inception in 1995. 10 students will have completed the Masters (MSc.) Programme with 3 graduating in December 2017. The course was designed and delivered by the UCD Legal Medicine Unit with support from national and international experts in the field. Many of the programme participants are employed in various roles relating to patient safety and law including senior clinical risk management or quality functions across the Irish health service as well as healthcare professionals, and legal practitioners and those involved in claims management. The programme enjoys the support and input of a number of statutory bodies and stakeholders who also act as lecturers and examiners on the course, including the State Claims Agency (SCA), The Health Service Executive (HSE) and the Health Information & Quality Authority (HIQA) and the Medical Council of Ireland.

‌Leading the ceremony was Academic Programmes Director, Mr Asim A. Sheikh (Barrister-at-Law and UCD Assistant Professor), whose legal practice and work specialises in clinical negligence and medical/healthcare law. The academic conferring group also comprised Professor Pat Murray (Head of School and Dean of Medicine), Professor Cecily Kelleher (College Principal and Nominee of the President of UCD), and Dr Cliona McGovern (UCD Assistant Professor) assisted by Ms. Liz Hannon (PA to Prof Murray) and Ms. Danielle Marie (Senior Executive Assistant). The School was also delighted to welcome families and friends of the graduating class who have supported them during their studies. Prof Kelleher indicated the College’s and University’s support for such programmes due to their innovative nature leading to policy and practice improvements in the workplace. She congratulated the graduates and the Unit on its on-going work and also the very recently retired Prof Cusack.

Opening proceedings, Mr. Sheikh congratulated the assembled graduands and commended the group for the dedication, commitment and persistence that each student brought to this part-time programme. He pointed to the considerable and continued demand for the course; indicative of the continued focus on patient safety and managing risk and quality in our healthcare systems and the importance of the graduates in being effective agents of change in practice.  He indicated that the ethos of the courses were in looking for graduates who can think, influence, change and lead in their work places. He also stated that the near future would see in evolution in the courses.

Mr. Ciaran Breen, Director of the State Claims Agency also addressed the ceremony outlining the status quo of clinical negligence claims and the Agency’s progress to date, and he presented the annual Bursary to student scoring the highest grade in the professional dissertation in the programme to, Ms. Sadhbh Brangan (Pharmacist) for her project entitled: “Informed consent to the supply of exempt medicinal products from a community pharmacy.”

As was explained by Asim Sheikh, it has become an annual tradition, utilised to foster key links in this multidisciplinary speciality, to invite a keynote speaker to address the ceremony from the fields of law and medicine.

He emphasised his and the School’s appreciation for the support shown by these eminent speakers. The School of Medicine was honoured that this year’s keynote address to the new graduates was given by Senator Michael McDowell S.C.

Past addresses to this ceremony have been given by:

  • The Hon. Ms. Justice Mary Irvine, Court of Appeal       
  • Dr Peter Lachman, Deputy Medical Director (Patient Safety), Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children, external examiner UCD (2013-16).       
  • Professor Freddie Woods, President, Medical Council       
  • Dr. Tracey Cooper, CEO HIQA       
  • Mr Micheál Martin TD, Minister for Health
  • Ms Mary Harney TD, Minister for Health
  • Prof Sir John Lilleyman, UK National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA)
  • The Hon. Ms. Justice Maureen Harding Clarke
  • Prof Deirdre Madden, Chair, Commission on Patient Safety and Quality Assurance
  • His Excellency Ambassador Kevin O’Malley, US Ambassador to Ireland, also addressed the School in 2016 on the topic of medical litigation
  • The Hon. Mr Justice John Quirke, President of the Law Reform Commission, also kindly addressed the group in relation to the duties of the expert witness in 2015 as part of the graduate diploma.

Senator Michael McDowell SC is a Senior Counsel and Senator.  He is a former Attorney General;He was Minister for Justice Equality and Law Reform, and Tánaiste.  In 2016, he was the first Senator to be elected to the NUI panel in the 25th Seanad. He is an Adjunct Professor in the UCD Sutherland School of Law.  He addressed the Ceremony in a talk entitled: “Medical Ethics to Be Decided in Court?"

This thought-provoking and important address examined the issue of whether or not medical professionals were in effect abdicating their professional responsibilities by referral of certain cases to the judgement of the court. The main topic of discussion was the 2014 case of PP v. HSE which examined the issue of whether or not a pregnant patient who was pronounced brain dead would have to be maintained by medical support for the purposes of sustaining the life of her unborn child. Sen McDowell concluded unambiguously that Little was achieved by going to court in this case and that, “the only medico-legal outcome was an entirely redundant reassurance for persons who lack the courage to make obvious professional ethical decisions on their own.” [Full text/transcript available below]

The Head of School and Dean of Medicine, Professor Murray, in bringing the ceremony to a close, congratulated the students and the Unit and discussed the importance of the work by the graduates and noted that this year’s ceremony was kindly supported and sponsored by Challenge, to whom he expressed his appreciation on behalf of the School. He also thanked all of the supporters of the course and event. The School and Unit are very grateful for the support and participation of experts in their fields and in this respect, in attendance were: Ms. Ann O’Driscoll, Solicitor and Senior Medico-legal Advisor, Dr. Jennifer Westrup, Section Chief of Oncology, the Beacon Hospital, Ms. Fiona Brassil and Ms. Aisling Hourigan from Daniel Spring Solicitors, Ms. Joanne O’Sullivan, Kennedys Law, Dr. Kevin Stewart, UCD External Examiner and Medical Director of the Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch Farnborough, UK and Consultant Physician at Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust Winchester, UK.

Selection of photographs from Grad Diploma in Healthcare Conferring 2017

Top: Ms Asim A. Sheikh BL (Course Director) opening the Ceremony

Middle: Graduates of the Graduate Diploma in Healthcare (Risk Management and Quality) and the Professional Certificate in Medico-Legal Aspects of Healthcare 2017

Bottom: Keynote Speaker, Senator Michael McDowell SC, Prof Patrick Murray, Dean of Medicine and Prof Cecily Kelleher, Principal, College of Health & Agricultural Sciences.

Images from the 2017 Graduate Diploma in Healthcare Conferring

Top: Mr Ciaran Breen (Director, State Claims Agency) presents the annual bursary to Ms Sadhbh Brangan

Middle: Prof Patrick Murray makes a presentation to keynote speaker Senator Michael McDowell SC and 

Bottom L-R: Ms. Fiona Brassil (Solicitor), Daniel Spring Solicitors, Dublin, Dr. Cliona McGovern (Ass. Prof. UCD, Legal Medicine), Dr. Kevin Stewart, UCD External Examiner and Medical Director of the Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch Farnborough, UK and Consultant Physician at Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust Winchester, UK, Mr. Asim A. Sheikh BL (Assistant Professor and Course Director), Prof Pat Murray (Head of School and Dean), Ms. Joanne O’Sullivan (Partner), Kennedys Law, and Ms. Aisling Hourigan (Solicitor), Daniel Spring Solicitors, Dublin.

More Information

A selection of photographs from the event are available here.

Keynote Address by Senator Michael McDowell SC

Ministerial Address to Graduates by Mr Simon Harris TD, Minister for Health 

Course Enquiries

Please visit the course hub to find out more about the:

Questions and enquiries should be directed to:

Ms. Danielle Marié
Legal Medicine, UCD School of Medicine
T: + 353 1 716 6647
W: Website