'This deadly virus is still with us and we all have a duty of care to protect our loved ones' #HoldFirm
It has been a very intense three months responding to this fast moving pandemic and all of the changing requirements which evolved during that time.
The gains made have been significant and I would like to thank all our staff for what has been a very considered and immediate response in what could only be described as unprecedented time for our health services.
I would also like to thank all our GP’s, statutory, voluntary and community organisations who responded quickly and in a coordinated manner to support some of the most vulnerable in our communities.
That support was very much appreciated and proved invaluable in so many ways in the planning of our response to Covid 19.
Moving on to the next stage, following the easing of some of the restrictions, we now have to plan to move to a more sustainable structure which will focus on how we will deliver services in a safe environment both for our service users and our staff still in a Covid-19 unpredictable environment.
“That process in line with the government’s return to work guidelines will be the focus of our planning and engagement over the next number of weeks.
“This deadly virus is still with us and we all have a duty of care to protect our loved ones.
“This will prove challenging for all involved. Engagement with staff and the Learning from the Covid-19 response will obviously feed into this process as will new working guidelines, telemedicine, technology, public heath advice, and the good will of all involved”.
Last week, I had the opportunity to visit our Testing Centres in Portlaoise and Tullamore and to meet with the Public Health Medicine team who are leading out on contact tracing in the Midlands.
To see at first hand the planning and organisation that went in to getting those facilities up and running in such a short space of time was certainly very impressive and no doubt bodes well for our ability to plan and organise as we move into a new way of working and providing services in our community.
“I wish to welcome and support the new phase of the public health advice campaign which supports our move through those coming phases, under the overall theme ‘Stay safe, protect each other, #Hold Firm’ .
“Over the last weeks and months, we have worked together and have reduced the impact of COVID-19 on the country and our health service. Now we need to motivate and inspire people to hold firm and to keep going with those actions that help us to stay safe and protect each other. The Hold Firm campaign takes inspiration from the words of President Michael D Higgins, and reminds people why we have to keep up our efforts and keep that curve flat. ‘Stay safe, Protect each other, #Hold Firm’
Trevor O’Callaghan, CEO of Dublin Midlands Hospital Group said, “We were very pleased last week to see the discharge of the first ventilated Covid-19 patient from the Midland Regional Hospital Tullamore. On behalf of all healthcare staff we wish this patient and every patient that has spent time in our hospitals in these recent times, the very best in their continuing journey in recovery.
"It is very encouraging to hear the positive news and it compounds within us all the reserve to keep going and again hold firm in their challenging times. We also acknowledge those patients and families who have lost loved ones. Our health service is working for everyone - and our staff are taking every precaution to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
"So, if you’re worried about a health problem, don’t let fear of coronavirus stop you from getting help. Your GP is just a phone call away. And if you have urgent symptoms like chest pain - or signs of a stroke, like slurred speech, or weakness in your face or arms, - go to your Emergency Department, or call 999 or 112, immediately.
"Finally, thank you to all our staff for their continued commitment to delivering health services and supporting colleagues in these difficult times. We are still dealing with a very deadly virus. It is a very important week for the government as we approach another stage of easing the restrictions. We would ask our community to please continue to practice the essential elements of hand hygiene, respiratory etiquette and adhering to the social distancing measures. You have heard it time and time again but it is in our hands, please stay safe and hold firm."
Stay Safe - and visit hse.ie for more information.