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Written by:
June 5, 2020

Dear colleagues,

Over the past week we have continued to work with our hospitals on site preparedness for the resumption of normal service, taking account of the infection control and social distancing measures that will now be necessary in the re-adaption of our services. We are compiling numerous business cases, in endoscopy, ophthalmology and cancer, amongst other areas, to plan for how our system will live with COVID-19 in the weeks and months ahead.

As a Group, we are lobbying for additional funding to meet current and future needs, with a particular emphasis on the prioritisation of capital development and capital investment.  

It is necessary that we secure this funding as soon as possible as we are already beginning to witness emergency admissions and delayed discharges increasing across our sites and a steady return to pre-COVID levels of activity.

Below are further IEHG COVID updates:

As part of a Dublin response to support City West as a link between acute hospital and community care within a rehab network, IEHG has been approached to develop a proposal for the unit. The facility is equipped with 350 beds with state-of-the-art supports in information technology and medical monitoring. While the Centre was not required during the initial wave, it is a national strategic facility that may have a significant role to play in any second wave or during the winter months when social distancing rules will make emergency departments difficult to safely manage with overcrowding. It can provide an immediate requirement in ambulatory care, OPD and virtual rehabilitation linked to our rehabilitation network.

• On that note, functional decline is one of the most common negative outcomes of hospitalisation, with far-reaching consequences for the patient, family, and health care system. IEHG is currently exploring virtual reablement packages as part of an integrated care model of intensive rehabilitation intervention to reduce frailty and improve physical robustness in elderly patients who have been discharged from hospital to their home environment, having previously been admitted to hospital through the ED following a medical condition (stroke, heart attack, cancer, COVID-19, etc).

• Again with regard to our integrated rehabilitation and reablement model, I am delighted to announce that the first ten beds opened in our post-acute care facility in St Mary’s, Phoenix Park this Wednesday 3 June.

• In yesterday’s Irish Times, in an open letter to government, the Chief Academic Officers of all seven hospital groups, including our CAO Prof Tim Lynch, and their respective universities called urgently for a COVID-19 national research biobank. The letter can be read at: https://bit.ly/2U8GQuK

Senior staff from St Columcille’s Hospital in Loughlinstown have recently come to the assistance of a nursing home in the Wicklow area and I would like to acknowledge the leadership of these nursing and HCA staff members and thank them for sharing their expertise at this time.

Our UCD colleagues Prof Alistair Nichol and Prof Peter Doran would appreciate frontline healthcare workers views on a study to potentially reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19. The questionnaire looks at HCW awareness of certain drugs and their use in protecting against COVID-19, and the respondent’s own potential willingness to partake in a clinical trial of medications to protect HCWs. Your views will directly shape this trial within our hospital group. Please click the link for more details and to take the short 5-minute survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/L7R3NP9

UCD is also leading a new €16 million EU and industry-supported research consortium aiming to improve obesity treatment. The project called Stratification of Obese Phenotypes to Optimise Future Obesity Therapy (SOPHIA) includes 29 partners from civil society, academia and industry in 12 countries, and seeks to create better risk assessment of complications of obesity and predict treatment responses. Prof Carel le Roux, an obesity physician at the UCD Diabetes Complications Research Centre in the UCD School of Medicine, is the co-ordinator of the SOPHIA consortium. You can read more at: https://bit.ly/3cxSnKm

In a nice piece for the Westmeath Examiner yesterday, Michelle Walsh, Parentcraft Coordinator at Regional Hospital Mullingar spoke to the paper about what a normal day was like working at the hospital’s maternity unit. You can read the article at: https://bit.ly/2MpXWjA

Finally, I would like to congratulate the Mater’s Cancer Directorate Leadership Team, Prof Michaela Higgins, Paula O’Reilly and Tracey Fitzpatrick, on the publication of their first Cancer Directorate Report. The report outlines the incredible achievements and cancer activity that have taken place at the hospital since the Directorate was formed last year. It can be viewed at:  https://online.fliphtml5.com/fhqhq/qekz/

Thank you as always.

Regards,

Mary Day, IEHG CEO