Three new consultants appointed to Galway hospitals

A local TD is calling for a clear plan to be drawn up in the New Year to illustrate how the appointment of three new consultants to University, Merlin Park and Portiuncula Hospitals will work in the various facilities.

Galway East Fine Gael deputy Paul Connaughton says the appointments of Mr Eddie Myers, a consultant colorectal surgeon; Mr Chris Collins, a consultant general and upper gastrointestinal surgeon and David Breen, a consultant respiratory and general physician are very welcome.

“However, it is now imperative that a plan is drawn up for the delivery of services in the hospitals and that this service delivery is adequately resourced. Clear structures and a better division of labour among the hospitals are hugely important and these will be a top priority for 2012.”

Mr Myers and Mr Collins joined the consultant teams at Galway University Hospitals (GUH - University and Merlin Park] and Portiuncula Hospital, Ballinasloe, while Dr David Breen, a consultant respiratory and general physician, has been appointed as a lead physician for lung cancer services in GUH.

Mr Myers is from Killarney and graduated from UCD in 1999. Following basic training, he undertook an MD in surgical oncology at UCD. He became the fourth Irish surgeon to be awarded the prestigious Patey prize by the Society of Academic and Research Surgeons for this research in 2005. Subsequently he went on to complete the Irish Higher Surgical Training Scheme in general and colorectal surgery.

During this time he initiated research into new minimal access surgical techniques for the management of diverticular disease. He has delivered invited international lectures on this research to The Frontiers in Colorectal Surgery meeting at St Marks, London, The European Society of Surgery, The Colorectal Surgical Society of Australia and New Zealand, The American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons and The Swedish Surgical Society for which he was awarded the Bengt Ihre medal.

Mr Chris Collins is from Skibbereen, Co Cork and graduated from UCC engineering and medical schools. On completing his basic training he undertook research at the Cork Cancer Research Centre with Professor Gerry O’Sullivan and developed the electrochemotherapy programme there which culminated in a successful clinical trial and the development of new medical devices for the laparoscopic and endoscopic delivery of this treatment. He was awarded the St Luke’s Young Investigator Medal in 2005 and has published more than 30 peer-reviewed papers. He was also involved in the successful awarding of grants from the EU as well as Enterprise Ireland for the development of electroporation devices as well as educational animation software.

Following his PhD, Mr Collins completed the higher surgical training scheme in general and upper gastrointestinal surgery and then did a fellowship at Guy’s and St Thomas’ hospitals in London with Professor Bob Mason concentrating on oesophago-gastric as well as bariatric [weight loss] surgery. He was appointed to Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge as upper gastrointestinal consultant surgeon in 2010 where his main areas of clinical research were minimally invasive oesophago-gastric surgery as well as the early diagnosis and treatment of Barrett’s Oesophagus using endoscopic mucosal resection and radio-frequency ablation. He was vice-chairman of the Anglia Oesophago-Gastric Group delivering care to almost three million people and was a member of the Cambridge Hernia Centre specialising in laparoscopic inguinal and incisional herniae.

Mr Collins returned to Ireland in October and is working in both Portiuncula Hospital, Ballinasloe and GUH. He is the upper GI surgical lead in Galway and is actively developing the upper gastrointestinal cancer programme in the west.

Dr David Breen is the lead physician for lung cancer services at GUH and qualified from Trinity College Dublin in 1996. He is originally from Dundalk, Co Louth. After completing his respiratory and general internal medicine training in Ireland he was awarded a European Respiratory Society/European Lung Foundation Fellowship to study Interventional Pulmonology in Marseille, France. He obtained expertise in interventional bronchoscopy under the supervision of Dr Herve Dutau and medical thoracoscopy training by Professor Phillipe Astoul. In addition, he spent periods training in Brescia (Italy ) for pleural ultrasound and in the Netherlands.

Dr Breen was appointed to the Radcliffe NHS Trust, Oxford, UK, as a respiratory consultant and lead for lung cancer services in 2009. He was the clinical director of the interventional bronchoscopy service.

Dr David O’Keeffe, the clinical director of acute services and continuing care for Galway/Roscommon, said he was delighted to see the appointment of two new surgical posts.

“They will offer us the capacity to plan and deliver specialist surgical care across counties Galway and Roscommon and I welcome the significant role that Dr David Breen will have in the diagnosis and treatment of lung cancer patients in the west.”

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