Ultranews 2021 Summer Staff Newsletter
Welcome to the Summer 2021 edition of UltraNews, an issue dedicated to the extraordinary times we find ourselves in. At this stage, it appears trite to say we have experienced an unprecedented interruption to service delivery due to a coexisting pandemic and cyberattack. However, what we can never say too often is how thankful we are for the unrelenting determination of our staff to innovate and find ways to get things done; how appreciative we are for your dedication to patients and to supporting one another; and how important it is to not take such work and dedication for granted, as we plan for the remainder of 2021 and beyond.
Once news of the cyberattack hit on 14 May 2021, contingency plans came into play and we adapted to the situation in hand; yet no plan ever foresaw a situation where all IT systems would be down for weeks at a time. The impact of the cyberattack has seen us go back to basics – back to paper, phone and even fax at times, with limited equipment and resources available. Prior to the cyberattack we often faced difficult situations, such as giving people bad news or difficult diagnosis. However, the additional layer of not having the usual ‘goto information’ to fully inform patients and decision making, has put these difficult situations into a different league. To say things have been pretty stressful is an understatement.
In University Hospital Waterford (UHW), it is interesting to hear from Colette Cunningham, Senior Neonatal Intensive Care Nurse and learn how the unit continues to collaborate, despite the pandemic and cyberattack. We congratulate our Clonmel collegues in their hospital deservedly achieving university hospital status. Tipperary University Hospital (TUH) is the new name to use. We welcome Fiona Cheasty as the new Business Manager to TUH. Fiona started in April 2021 after nearly 20 years in UHW, and will be instrumental in supporting improvements and enhancements to service delivery in Clonmel. We also welcome Caitriona Heffernan to the new role of Innovation Programme Lead for Ireland South Women & Infants Directorate. Caitriona will be working closely with the Health Innovation Hub of Ireland (HIHI) to introduce new products, technologies and innovative solutions that represent value to our patients, staff and the wider network. University Hospital Kerry (UHK) have successfully opened community outreach clinics in Listowel, Killarney and Dingle enabling women to access care in the community in line with the 2016-2026 Maternity Strategy.
Congratulations to Professor Eugene Dempsey, Consultant Neonatologist in Cork University Maternity Hospital (CUMH) who was recently appointed to the first Chair in Neonatology in Ireland thanks to a significant gift by a UCC alumnus, supporting clinical and research capacity at the INFANT centre. As we head into the latter half of 2021, it is worth reminding ourselves that COVID-19 is far from over; we are still living through an historic pandemic and our efforts need to continue to be viewed as a marathon rather than a sprint. I remain immensely proud of all colleagues in our network as we continue to work with such a sense of purpose and togetherness. We are privileged to work together to provide care to the women, babies and families in our region.
John R. Higgins
Ireland South Women & Infants Directorate
Professor of Obstetrics & Gynaecology