Whitfield Clinic, Waterford in safe hands of Kilkenny man

Sean Keane

Reporter:

Sean Keane

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The hair may have turned greyish but David Beirne has lost none of the energy and talent he possessed when he was hurling with Dicksboro, Kilkenny and Waterford IT.

The hair may have turned greyish but David Beirne has lost none of the energy and talent he possessed when he was hurling with Dicksboro, Kilkenny and Waterford IT.

The 42-year-old has combined his serious work ethic with his people skills as CEO of the Whitfield Clinic and private hospital just over the Kilkenny border in Waterford.

With a yearly wages bill of €10 million and generating between €50 and €60 million in the south east every year, he sees Whitfield as a major player which will help to attract more investment to the region while also showing that the South East has a private medical care facility of international standard.

With over 60 consultants, 52 private in-patient beds; 24 out patient beds and with a myriad of services, consultants and specialist treatments it has an excellent reputation.

With easy access from the motorway and the “Catflap” bridge it services Kilkenny, Waterford, Tipperary, Carlow, Wexford and Cork.

David who lives in Glenmore relaxes by training the Glenmore under 12 and under 21 GAA teams and this year he has the added responsibilty of being a selector on the senior team with Paddy and tomas Mullally, Esther’s cousins.

His wife Esther is a neo-natal nurse in University Hospital Waterford and his three children, Cathal, Breeanna and Hugh are, as you would expect, steeped in the GAA as you would expect with a father who won a senior hurling county championship medal with Dicksboro in 1993 and a Fitzgibbon Cup medal with Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) (the first time they won

David Beirne is on first name terms with all the staff in the hospital and was promoted from Chief Financial Officer in October last year to CEO, he has an interest in helping out everyone he can and only sees challenges and solutions and not problems.

He attended St Canice’s and CBS primary schools before going to CBS secondary school.

As part of his work placement with PricewaterhouseCoopers in Kilkenny under the guidance of martin Hanrahan, he spent two years in WIT where he won a the Fitzgibbon Cup with other Kilkenny hurlers, Sean Ryan and Andy Comerford. After qualifying as chartered accountant, he worked in Avonmore, Ballyragget with Billy Murphy and from there to a Dublin based car rental company and then McEnerney Builders.

He started in Whitfield three and half years ago and has overseen a major reversal in its fortunes and a number of expansions are in the pipeline.

Asked what is the hardest thing about the job he replied: “There is no hard thing. The challenge is the diversity of the job. So many variables in health care. Our job in the hospital is to provide a service. We are a service provider and if patients are happy they will come back for more,” he said.

Looking at Whitfield as a business and not just a medical facility he said his biggest customers were the consultants. “They bring the patients to the hospital and we provide a service to the patients and to the consultants,” he added.

“This is like a hub of different businesses - We have around 30 different services and with 60 consultants - each is a business in their own right and we do it very well,” he said with candour

Whitfield is now owned by Beltany Property Finance Limited funded by The Goldman Sachs, London. “That happened in 2014 and we now have a great future with access capital to fund expansion that we didn’t have before,” he said.

There are over 300 people employed in Whitfield with an annual payroll of €10 million and it generates between €50 and €60 million annually in the South East.

Tadhg O’Sullivan the celebrated orthopaedic surgeon was one of the pillars on which the hospital and clinic were built on.

David said there is a great team spirit and that all strands in the hospital work together.

He joined as chief financial officer in August 2011 and was appointed CEO in October 2014 . He said he will leave when the job is finished and services are expanded.

“We do 25,000 admissions a year and I want to grow that by 50% over the next 3 years

“We offer a great service to the south east and we have a great relationship with UHW, St Luke’s and Wexford General.

The cancer treatment centre at Whitfield is a joint venture with the American group, UMPC cancer services and it has a rolling service agreement with the HSE to provide cancer- radiotherapy care to patients in the South East.

The hospital has - Four operating theatres; Two endoscopy suites (scopes); 24 day care beds; 54 private in-patient beds; All catering cooked fresh on site; Free wifi free phone calls, newspapers to the rooms.

“We have 60 consultants on site - we were the South East’s best secret and you want to be looked after come to us,” he said.

He wants to promote Whitfield and has been in touch with the chambers of commerce in Kilkenny, Waterford, Clonmel and Wexford and the IDA’s newly appointed regional manager, Ann Marie Tierney

“Our services covers all elective surgery. If a patient goes to a GP and it’s a planned elective admission they can choose Whitfield.

Cash is taken. If you have cash. If you have a cataract and can’t see - You can come in, agree a cash price and walk out seeing again. The same goers for scopes, MRIs, x-rays - you can walk in and agree a cash price. Every procedure has a cash price. It is the norm.

“We don’t do emergencies but do emergency elective procedures on hip, limbs, scoping, eyes, general surgery hernias, veins - anything that is planned just ring Whitfield, look up the consultants list, find a specialist and book on - It’s that simple.

Always covered.”