You can download our Spring newsletter for 2021, the UltraNews here, featuring stories from CUMH and the maternity units in UHK, UHW and STGH - The Ireland South Women & Infants Directorate.
Few, if any periods over the course of modern history have tested our resilience and shaped our personal and professional lives the way 2020 has. As 2021 beckoned, the promise and protection of vaccines was the news we needed to hear. We are proud that staff in the directorate played a key part in administering the vaccine to the healthcare workforce at our hospitals. The camaraderie, teamwork and genuine optimism witnessed in these clinics represents all that is great about our hospitals and the people who work in them.
To further the fight against COVID-19, Ireland South Women & Infants Directorate is funding the training of 500 healthcare personnel on administering the Pfizer vaccine safely. These trained healthcare workers will be crucial to the rollout of the vaccine in our communities.
While at the end of 2020 we were able to relax our visiting restrictions a little and allow partners to attend the anatomy scan, a surge in COVID-19 infections and the national move to Level 5 meant we had to temporarily pause this on 11 January 2021 to protect our patients and staff. As all four maternity units in Ireland South Women & Infants Directorate share the campus and services with the general hospitals, it is important to align our visiting restrictions with these hospitals. We are preparing to be more flexible once restrictions ease and have been working on a new visitor scheduling app in CUMH which will allow us to recommence access for partners in a safe manner. We aim to roll this out across the directorate soon.
Cars branded with Ireland South and featuring individual hospital names are now turning heads on the roads in Cork, Kerry, Waterford and Tipperary. These cars are a clear indication of midwifery-led care and enhanced patient choice in practice in line with the Maternity Strategy. They are being used for Early Transfer Home and DOMINO services as well as community outreach services and more.
In STGH, midwifery led clinics are offering continuity of care for low-risk mothers where possible. One of the first mothers to benefit from this model of care not only had the same midwife throughout her pregnancy, but she was also transferred home within 24 hours of giving birth. We look forward to this becoming a more regular occurrence in all our hospitals.
In CUMH, the new smoking cessation service for pregnant women celebrated achieving 200 referrals – 83% of those who took up the service have stayed quit at the important 4-week milestone. A great result!
In UHW, we are delighted to welcome a new consultant obstetrician & gynaecologist Dr Mairéad Butler who started at the end of 2020 and returns to work in the hospital she was originally born in. Mairéad will focus on developing the pregnancy loss services in UHW with colleagues.
We’re pleased to see audits on the patient experience reporting impressive results in UHK. Almost all patients attending the outpatient hysteroscopy clinic would recommend it to a friend.
I am delighted to announce that the MaternityONESouth project is back, with Kate Lyons in CUMH as the new dedicated project manager. This project is focused on making our maternity care as safe as possible through training and policies that are standardised and centralised. It’s an exciting initiative that involves all four of our units collaborating and supporting one another and avoiding duplication of effort.
While the events of 2020 defined a year that will stay in our memories for a lifetime, we look forward to the prospect of 2021 being a year in which we can see each other in person again and share a handshake. Thank you again for your unrelenting commitment in the delivery of maternity, gynaecology and neonatal services in the challenging times we face. Now more than ever, it is a privilege to work alongside such purposeful and passionate people; we in turn remain privileged to provide care to the women, babies and families in Ireland South.
John R. Higgins
Clinical Director, Ireland South Women & Infants Directorate
Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology
South/South West Hospital Group