This week’s good weather and the arrival of the Easter holidays have brought home to us all how much we would appreciate being able to get outside, take a trip over the long weekend, or spend time with those closest to us. This year unfortunately we cannot celebrate as we normally would. Being separated from our loved ones at this time is hard but it is part of the fight to bring this virus under control. Positive action now will mean that more and more families will get to enjoy precious time together once we are safely through this pandemic.
Sadly, we have close colleagues who have experienced the loss of loved ones to this terrible disease and in order to minimise the suffering of other families we must ensure that we all continue to adhere to and promote the importance of all the public health measures currently in place. We all know that approximately a quarter of those diagnosed with COVID-19 are healthcare workers. Social distancing between staff in hospitals must be implemented wherever possible. It is not easy, but it is essential.
As we come to the end of another week, I would like to thank you as always for your continued efforts at this time. It has been another incredibly busy seven days across our hospitals and health service as we work to cope with the recent surge and prepare for the further challenging weeks ahead.
Below are some IEHG updates which I wish to share with you:
• Our IEHG Procurement Lead has done incredible work setting up an IEHG logistics hub to ensure weekly delivery of PPE to all IEHG hospitals.
• A Group Dashboard has been developed and will be launched soon which will make key operational data available to our hospitals.
• Our Group Chief Director of Nursing & Midwifery is working with Directors of Nursing across the hospital group to deliver training in relation to critical care nursing. We are very appreciative of the cooperation of our non-critical care nursing staff, currently participating in this training, who may be mobilised to support critical care patients and colleagues.
• Clontarf is the first post-acute care setting accepting COVID-positive patients for ongoing care and rehabilitation. We are now recruiting staff for two dedicated Post-Acute COVID Rehabilitation facilities in St Mary’s Hospital, Phoenix Park and St. Mary’s, Mullingar. These units will provide rehabilitation and reablement care for COVID patients following their stay in an acute hospital. Our units will be led by a multidisciplinary team consisting of Nurses, Healthcare Assistants, Physiotherapist, Occupational Therapist, Social Worker, Catering and Portering staff.
• We have continued interviewing for staff nurses for our Staff Bank this week. Overseas recruitment for ICU nurses is scheduled for next week.
• Our HR team continues to work closely with National HR on childcare solutions for staff.
• With regard to securing temporary accommodation for staff, we are working closely with the HSE and a contact person has been identified in each of your hospitals to support staff in accessing accommodation in conjunction with their line managers.
• The IEHG Gynaecological Oncology Group is focused on emergency cancer surgery. 16 major gynae cancer resections were performed by the group on public patients in private facilities during the week 28 March – 3 April. A number of these cases were performed out of hours. This is an excellent achievement. The group are keen to highlight the importance of women attending for review if they have symptoms suggestive of Gynae cancer.
• Ophthalmology services across IEHG have undertaken enormous work to very quickly stratify, defer, cancel, triage or continue OPD appointments (approx. 7000 per month) and surgical procedures (approx. 3000 per month), reorganise and implement triage and telehealth in the EEDs whilst attending to all other necessary daily actions.
In other information, the online mental health service SilverCloud Health is now providing free access to all HSE staff to three self-directed online programmes in dealing with stress, building resilience, and improving your sleep. These programmes can be accessed here. Once on the website, complete the sign-up process and enter the access code ‘HSE2020’ when prompted to do so. Other information and resources on looking after your mental health are available at https://bit.ly/2VbvPbM
Finally, in the midst of all that has been happening, it has been incredible as always to witness the way the public is reaching out to care for our frontline workers. All the Easter eggs donated to our hospital staff this week, from organisations such as Feed the Heroes, have brought a little bit of joy in trying circumstances.
Happy Easter to you all. Keep safe.
Mary Day, CEO, Ireland East Hospital Group