Day in the life

Orna Hoban, proprietor of Blackrock Hall Primary Care Centre and The Garden Ballintubbert, tells Vincent Ryan about her busy working day


Every morning my husband Fergus and I get up at 7am. With three young children and two businesses, morning in the Hoban household is quite chaotic. We get dressed in the dark as quietly as possible so as not to wake our 5-month-old baby too early, before we get our 2 and 3-year-olds ready for the day ahead. ! As a full-time mother and full-time business owner, I really have to prioritise. Together with my husband I am a proprietor of Touchstone, the largest primary healthcare centre in Ireland. Our flagship centre, Blackrock Hall Primary Care Centre, is based near Mahon Point in Cork and delivers high quality healthcare services in 27 different disciplines including pharmacy, dentistry, nutrition, orthodontics, audiology, optics and physiotherapy and we also have 10 full-time GPs and the HSE on site. In the mornings I mainly greet our customers as they come through the door, as we see excellent customer service as the key to success. This is also how we get to know our customers and often how we actually ascertain their health needs.


By the early afternoon I have put my marketing head on and am planning our upcoming events and marketing campaigns and the less thrilling but no less essential tasks of reviewing reports and documentation. As a little added extra in terms of customer service we file our patients insurance and PRSI claims on their behalf to ensure they get the very best value, so there’s quite a lot of paper work to be done. In addition, Fergus and I allocate time every day to developing our new corporate package, Touchstone Connect, which enables businesses to offer healthcare to their employees at a fraction of the normal cost via member discounts, tax reclaims, a loyalty card scheme and free benefits. !

I also try to spend a couple of hours on our second business (and my personal passion), The Garden Ballintubbert. As well as being our weekend home, we opened this garden attraction to the public last year and also hire it out as a venue for high-end events and exclusive weddings. Fergus and I actually got married there ourselves and I can honestly say it was the best day of our lives, so magical and intimate.


My later afternoon and early evening is generally reserved for meetings with my husband, the various heads of departments in Touchstone and suppliers. Sometimes we also do training sessions in the evenings to keep our staff up-skilled in the likes of social media and customer service. However mostly evening time is family time. Working and living with your husband can be trying so we do our best to try to keep work at work. I love getting home, kicking off the heels and playing with the kids.


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