Dr Rhona Mahony discusses the learnings from Covid for the future of Irish healthcare

“It requires us to continue to think differently and to do so with a sense of urgency.”

Dr Rhona Mahony discusses the impact of Covid on Irish healthcare and how the system can be improved as we move beyond the pandemic in the most recent ‘Science of Business podcast with scientific entrepreneur Louise Grubb and founder of Q1 Scientific.

Louise Grubb & Dr Rhona Mahony
Louise Grubb & Dr Rhona Mahony


Dr Mahony is an Obstetrician & Gynaecologist, a Specialist in Maternal and Fetal medicine and an Honorary Clinical Professor with RCSI. She previously served as Master of the National Maternity Hospital (NMH) in Dublin from 2012 to 2018. NMH is one of Europe’s largest maternity hospitals, caring for 10,000 pregnant women annually and is a major Irish tertiary referral centre providing advanced obstetric, neonatal and gynaecological care. Currently working with Trinity Business School (TBS) to develop a healthcare leadership pillar within the Business School where she sits on the Advisory Board of TBS and on the executive education board. She has recently joined the board of Halocare and currently serves on the Board of St Vincent’s Healthcare Group.

During the interview, Dr Mahony speaks of her experiences at school from her favourite teachers to deciding on her post leaving cert options to the key mentors through her career to now working with Trinity Business School in an area that will see a broader education for medical students as they will begin to learn business subjects offering them the skills and knowledge for future careers running their own businesses in medicine and leading medical teams.

She also speaks about collaboration in healthcare stating that “it is deeply absent in medicine” and that the pandemic has offered us a flavour of what can be achieved when there is collaboration in medicine.

“We can now see what we can do when we collaborate in medicine.”

During the podcast interview, which is available on all podcast platforms Dr Mahony discusses what we have learned from Covid, in terms of medical practice, and the barriers and challenges going forward.

“Even early on I stated that there would be big struggles during Covid, like getting PPE, getting childcare to have HSE staff working, ventilation and ICU beds. The positives we have seen is the progress of remote healthcare and being able to see patients online and even apps to monitor oxygen levels and saturation levels instead of bringing people in; this level of care has been done in the community and done quite well.”

“We’ve seen people really band together and get over the ‘red-tape’. We must build on this and I think what we have learned is that we can do it differently and that we can do it better and we must because the current hospital system is not going to withstand the current increase in population, particularly the increase in the elderly population. Therefore it is not that ‘it would be nice’, rather ‘it is that we must’.”

“The technology is all there, for example with robotic surgery someone can carry out an operation remotely therefore now, it is about adaptation to make that technology really work for us.”

Similarly, with companies like HaloCare using technology, for tracking movement and health data in the home with live medical monitoring, will revolutionise senior care.

“The challenge will be GDPR, guidelines, rules, regulation, procurement, so much so that we have tied ourselves up and really what we really try to do in medicine is coloured by the fear of litigation and insurance costs and this has a massive impact across all of medicine. It is this barrier that we are going to have to take out and face if we are really going to drive forward and make things better. We really could be on a wave of something brilliant but it’s going to require us to continue to think differently and to do so with a sense of urgency.”

The Science of Business podcast series is hosted by the multi-award-winning serial entrepreneur and founder of Q1 Scientific and Trivium Vet Louise Grubb. The series features interviews with some of the key people behind Ireland’s global success in pharma, life sciences, health and biomedical sectors. Louise brings her twenty years of experience within the sector to the table and her own knowledge of what is required to establish a pharma success story. The full interview from this latest episode of ‘The Science of Business is now available to listen to on all podcast platforms.

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