Thursday, 20th September 2018
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University Hospital Waterford coped well during the severe weather event due to the exceptional efforts and support from our staff and the various emergency services who all teamed together to keep the hospital system operating safely over an extended period in very challenging circumstances. Critical to the smoother functioning experienced was that management and staff started into local preparations and plan for this event from Monday 5th March and this proved crucial in managing the overall situation and what was in reality a mammoth logistical exercise.

UHW are so proud of our staff, many of whom did not see their families for up to five nights either staying in local hotels or bedding onsite in the hospital in order to be available for work on day or night duty. Staff swapped shifts to facilitate other colleagues who lived in more inaccessible areas. Staff used their own 4x4 vehicles to transport staff to and from home and indeed many local staff walked to and from work in very adverse conditions. The commitment and resilience shown by staff including contractor staff and the emergency services was tremendous. In adversity there was also great camaraderie and good humour across the hospital during this time. Such team effort was tremendous to witness. Many staff and managers also learnt new and alternative skills during the past days as they worked in several areas that are not normally part their regular duties.

The hospital has to commended and applaud the emergency services who without their assistance the situation would have been so different. The external emergency services that supported us included the Coast Guard, Defence Forces, Mountain Rescue that were with us from the start in order to ferry staff to and from work to either hotel accommodation or home and also to bring patients home where possible. The Gardai also assisted in bringing some critical on call staff to the hospital. Waterford City Council staff were also invaluable in assisting to keep main external access routes open to the hospital and in clearing access routes within the hospital grounds and similarly for other local hospitals and nursing homes in order that patients could be discharged or brought to the hospital as necessary. Rapid Cabs assisted in ferrying our dialysis patients to and from the hospital for their treatment. The Fire Service staff also offered lifts to any staff they saw walking to the hospital in the early mornings. Also to mention and thank the local hotels for their support in looking after our staff so well.

We also applaud our National Ambulance Service colleagues who had to endure tough conditions for the duration of this event when dealing with emergency situations. We also wish to tmembers of the public and former staff who offered assistance in either offering accommodation close to the hospital or volunteering to come into to help. Our Advanced Midwifery Nurse Practitioner was able to attend a home birth by using her own 4x4 car.

We sincerely thank all who supported the hospital during this challenging period. The efforts of so many went above and beyond to ensure patients received care and treatment and that patients and staff had meals provided.

Hospital management extend a sincere thank you to everyone who offered support and assistance.

UHW is now back to normal activity.

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