THE IRIS NETWORK
The history of our network is built on real common ambitions, the guiding thread of our existence.
The constituent hospitals of the iris network today came into being over time in response to the development needs of Brussels and its environs. Our oldest hospital structure goes back to 1783, when the buildings of an old leprosy clinic built right up against Saint-Pierre’s chapel were turned into a real hospital.
From the legal and strategic point of view, the iris network as such came into being in 1996. Until then, public hospitals depended on the public welfare committees of Anderlecht, Etterbeek, Ixelles, Saint-Gilles, Schaerbeek and the City of Brussels. The ordinance of 22 December 1995 of the Brussels-Capital Region on the Public Welfare Centres (CPAS) Act is actually at the origin of the creation of the umbrella organisation called “iris” and the autonomy of public hospitals. The purpose of this ordinance was to assign a series of rights and responsibilities for the organisation of Brussels public hospitals. There were 9 such hospitals at the outset, which three years later were merged into 3 general hospitals (the Brugmann University Hospital, the Saint-Pierre University Hospital,and the Iris Hospitals South) and two specialised hospitals (the Jules Bordet Institute and the Queen Fabiola Children’s University Hospital).
The guiding thread for the hospitals of the network will henceforth be to work together and in accordance with the same rules, with the same image that projects shared values, but also to provide mutual assistance and develop synergies in order to achieve the underlying objects of the creation of iris:
- Preserve a strong public hospital network in Brussels;
- Restore financial balance;
- Give greater responsibility to stakeholders in the management of iris hospitals;
- Improve the quality of public hospital medicine.
- Organising a complete network of advanced medical activities of very high quality is a long-term challenge, given the demands of comprehensive patient coverage. Three successive strategic plans were accordingly be adopted to achieve these objectives. An initial plan for the period 1996-2001 gives priority to redressing the financial situation of the hospital; a second plan, for the period 2002-2006 is geared to the "consolidation" of the hospitals; and a third, for the period 2007-2011, contributes to the redeployment of the network.
The iris network also boasts transversal structures for the hospitals:
- iris-Purchasing (2002), with a purchasing remit for the network;
- iris-Research (2007) to provide grants and subsidies for inter-clinical research of the network;
- iris-Lab (2011), which merged the clinical biology laboratories of Saint-Pierre, Bordet, Brugmann and HUDERF.
To these are added numerous associations of medical services of the network which have made it possible to attain a significant critical mass to develop and bolster their activities.
On the human resources front, extensive work has been carried out to harmonise staff rules and regulations, and many investments have been made in real estate, medical care programmes, information technology, etc.
The reinforcement of all hospital activities and the financial stability of the iris network are today a reality in the service of our missions, thanks to the efforts and the professional acumen of all its teams.