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Staff recovery must be monitored by hospital managers

17th National Health Summit, virtual conference, 10 February 2021

Hospital managers will need to “keep an eye” on the mental and physical health of healthcare staff in the coming months of the pandemic and post-pandemic period, the annual National Health Summit was told.

Mr Tony Canavan, CEO, Saolta University Health Care Group, said such monitoring of staff would be necessary.

“One of the things we have to be very conscious of is, as we roll-out the vaccine, we also have to keep an eye on the recovery of staff,” said Mr Canavan, “because we don’t know yet what the long-term impact of all this [pandemic] will be.”

Also speaking at the virtual summit, Prof Mary Horgan, President of the RCPI, agreed that the challenge of burnout was significant. Reflecting on her own experience as an infectious diseases consultant at Cork University Hospital (CUH), she noted: “I think the big plus during the third wave, as bad as it was, was the fact that we have vaccination roll-out.”

“If we had to go into that third wave without that hope it would have been pretty devastating.”

She said quick roll-out of the vaccine to health staff in the South/South West Hospital Group had “really brought that additional resilience, that extra bit of gas in the tank” for staff.

Talking about her experience on the Covid ward in CUH, she said: “We were really there to support one another, every one of the team irrespective of the role was equally important… and we could see light at the end of what was a very long month.”

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