General Information

The Highest band of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) will be restored to €350 per week, it has been announced.

The payment moved from two rates of payment to three rates last month, when the top rate of €350 was also reduced to €300.

However, as part of the introduction of new Covid-19 restrictions, the top band has been restored for those whose earnings were more than €400 per week before the pandemic.

The new payment structure for the PUP is as follows:

This change will apply to payments issued from 27 October for all existing and new applicants.

The EWSS is also being amended to align with the amendment to PUP. This means there will be five payment rates/bands as follows:

  • 0 – €151 = €0
  • €151 < €203 = €203
  • €203 < €300 = €250
  • €300 < €400 = €300
  • €400< €1,462 = €350

This revised scheme will run to end January 2021.

https://www.thejournal.ie/pandemic-unemployment-payment-restored-350-per-week-5238214-Oct2020/

An Post Care Homes Community Focus

Community is about reaching out with compassion, staying connected and sending love to each other. That’s why at An Post, you can now send love to communities living in care homes across Ireland with free postage. Recognising the increased restrictions in nursing homes across the country and to bring a little joy, An Post will ensure free delivery of all card and letter mail posted to and from residents of Nursing and Care homes in the State until January 31st 2021.
By writing FREEPOST where the stamp would normally be affixed, An Post will carry cards, letters large envelopes and packets weighing up to 2KG without a postage stamp.
Customers can send these items through the Post Office network and post boxes across Ireland.

The Budget in Brief A Citizen’s Guide to Budget 2020

Each year at Budget time important decisions are made about how public money will be spent and the level of taxation needed to fund this. This guide aims to explain how money will be raised and spent in 2020. It has an easy-to-use format so that it can be used by a wide cross-section of society. This will enable citizens to take part in informed debate about the choices made by Government. This guide provides a high-level overview of Budget 2020. If you would like to know more about any information found in this guide visit www.budget.gov.ie where a range of more in-depth material is available to download

http://www.budget.gov.ie/Budgets/2020/Documents/Budget/Your%20Budget%20Version%20Final.pdf

 

 RCSI President Professor P. Ronan O’Connell comments on Budget 2021 RCSI welcomes the announcement by the Minister of Health of additional funding for the health services following allocations made in Budget 2020/21. The measures announced will assist the health services cope with the combined threats of the COVID-19 crisis and expected winter pressures.COVID-19 has exposed pre-existing critical shortages in hospital bed capacity, particularly in intensive care and high dependency units. Planned increased bed capacity, while welcome, is not sufficient without staff recruitment, training and retention. For too long Ireland has exported many of its best and brightest graduates in medicine, nursing and professions allied to medicine. Now is the time to ensure that all suitably qualified graduates are retained within the Irish healthcare system. The decision earlier this year to offer internship to all graduates of Irish medical schools proved invaluable in coping with the first COVID surge. RCSI urges the HSE to continue this arrangement. Cancellations of scheduled care deprive patients of timely treatment, but also seriously impact on the ability to train staff. It is crucial that training continues through the COVID-19/winter crisis. This is particularly problematic in the specialties of surgery, anaesthesiology, gastroenterology and other interventional specialties. While welcome, supplementary funding to the National Treatment Purchase Fund to provide access to scheduled care in the private sector must also facilitate access for specialty training. RCSI looks forward to working with the Minister, his department, the HSE and hospital groups to ensure best use of the additional funding and a safer, more equitable future in Irish healthcare.

https://www.rcsi.com/dublin/news-and-events/news/news-article/2020/10/rcsi-president-comments-on-budget-2021

National HSCP Office Newsletter October 2020

HSCP Office Newsletter Oct 2020 

The Governments Green List the Department of Foreign Affairs has said that from 12 October, there will be no countries on the travel Green List. When countries are on the list, people can travel there from Ireland without restricting their movements on their return. Currently, there are four countries on the Green List – Cyprus, Finland, Latvia and Liechtenstein. The list includes European/EEA countries with a 14-day cumulative number of Covid-19 cases per 100,000 of 25 or less, which is based on data from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. The department says that updates to the Green List are made on the basis of data every Thursday .However, following a review of the latest data no country was found to be below the required 14-day cumulative number of Covid-19 cases. In a statement, the Department of Foreign Affairs said: “The Green List was reviewed on the basis of ECDC data on Thursday 8 October. As no EU / EEA countries were below the required 14-day cumulative number of COVID-19 cases, there will be no countries on the Green List with effect from Monday 12 October “The next review will be on Thursday 15 October, with any changes to take effect from Monday 19 October. “In the meantime, Ireland continues to work with EU partners to finalise negotiations on the new Council Recommendation on coordinating travel within the Union (‘EU traffic lights system’).”

https://www.rte.ie/news/coronavirus/2020/1008/1170327-green-list-countries/

Telehealth Steering Group

As an immediate response to assist the work of the COVID-19 National Telehealth (TH) Steering Group Committee, the National HSCP Office secured the temporary part-time re-deployment of Dr. Heather Cronin to take on the role of HSCP Telehealth Representative.

Quickly, it was recognised that emerging HSCP telehealth practice needed to be examined and in April 2020, an online HSCP Survey was completed by HSCP frontline services.

There was a huge response with over 700 health and social care professionals participating in the survey. Thank you to all who contributed despite workload pressures at that time.

Survey Findings

I attach the findings from the HSCP Survey – Telehealth: what matters to you? You can also access this information in the HSCP Hub on HSELand in the following locations:

o   In the What’s Happening section

o   in the eHealth section which will be live from October 2020

The results are being used to inform the work of the National HSCP Office in supporting scale-up and spread of TH solutions.  To progress this work, a temporary HSCP Telehealth Project Officer position has been created and we are pleased to welcome Marie Byrne and Siobhan Keohane to this role.

Ongoing Communication About HSCP Telehealth Developments

Over the coming months, we will share updates on HSCP telehealth supports and developments using our various communication formats and platforms, including:

Ø  Email updates

Ø  Twitter (@WeHSCPs)

Ø  HSCP Share Blog (www.hscpshare.com)

Ø  National HSCP Office Newsletter (by email and available on HSCP Hub, HSELanD)

Ø  Clinical Webinar series – a partnership approach between the National Virtual Health Team, mPOWER, National HSCP Office and ONMSD https://www.ehealthireland.ie/National-Virtual-Health-Team/Video-Enabled-Care-Webinars/

Pandemic Unemployment Rates from 17th September 2020

From 17 September 2020 until 31 January 2021 the Pandemic Unemployment Payment will be paid at 3 rates.

The rate you receive will depend on the amount you used to get paid:

  • if you earned less than €200 per week – the rate of the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment will be €203 per week
  • if you earned between €200 and €300 per week – the rate of the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment will be €250 per week
  • if you earned over €300 per week – you will receive €300 per week
  • the Qualified Adult rate for those on Jobseeker’s or Illness Benefit will now revert to its normal level of €134.70 from the week commencing 28 September 2020.

https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/0b0fc-covid-19-pandemic-unemployment-payment-rates-from-17-september-2020/#rates-from-17-september-2020

The Journal 26th September

 The Green List Update

The new system will see EU/EEA countries with an incidence rate of fewer than 25 Covid-19 cases per 100,000 people in the past fortnight included on the Green List. The latest update was announced last Thursday and comes into effect from today. As of now, the Green List has four countries. They are:

Cyprus

  • Finland
  • Latvia
  • Liechtenstein

The continuation of the Green List will remain in place until the European Commission’s new guidelines on air travel across the EU is adopted. Due to come into effect next month, the plan would create a traffic light system. These proposals will establish a common criteria and thresholds for EU member states when deciding whether to introduce travel restrictions. Regardless of whether a country is on Ireland’s Green List, the Department of Foreign Affairs is advising Irish people that they may face quarantine or other restrictions when they land in other countries.  Three of the four of the countries on the updated list – Cyprus, Finland and Latvia – currently have some form of restrictions for arrivals from other jurisdictions, including Ireland.

The Governments Green List is to change from Monday, going from 10 European countries to seven. Italy, Greece, Hungary, Norway, Slovakia, Greenland and Estonia have all been removed from the list. Germany, Poland and Iceland have been added. The new Green List takes effect from Monday 21 September, with the current list expiring at midnight on Sunday. Individuals arriving in Ireland from Green List countries do not have to restrict their movements upon entry into the country. It means that people can travel to these countries for non-essential travel – such as for a holiday – and return without a need to restrict their movements. The new government system will see countries with an incidence rate of less than 25 cases per 100,000 in the past fortnight included on the Green List. 

The counties on the update list are as follows: 

Cyprus, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland. 

A two-week self-isolation requirement is applied to persons arriving from countries with an incidence rate of 25 cases per 100,000, including Ireland. Passengers from these countries will also have to provide a negative result to a coronavirus test performed within 72 hours prior to their arrival.The new list will remain in place until the European Commission’s new guidelines on air travel across the bloc is adopted. Due to come into effect next month, the plan would create a traffic light system. These proposals will establish a common criteria and thresholds for EU member states when deciding whether to introduce travel restrictions. It would also provide mapping of common criteria using an agreed colour code, and a common framework for measures applied to travellers from high-risk areas. The European Commission suggests that EU States should not restrict the free movement of people travelling from another member state where the total number of newly notified Covid-19 cases is equal or less to 50 per 100,000 during a 14-day period, or the percentage of positive tests from all Covid-19 tests in a given area is less than 3%.

World Sepsis Day Sunday 13th September

HSE highlights the importance of knowing the signs and symptoms of Sepsis on World Sepsis Day

  • One in five people who develop sepsis will die but with early recognition and treatment this risk will be reduced
  • Sepsis is a medical emergency. Time matters

On World Sepsis Day, the HSE is urging everyone to be aware of Sepsis, to be familiar with the signs and symptoms, and to ask the question ‘Could it be Sepsis?’

Sepsis can develop from any infection and can affect anyone, but it is more common in the very young, the elderly, people with pre-existing medical conditions or those with a weakened immune system. Sepsis is diffi­cult to diagnose as it can be easily confused with other conditions early on.

The most commonly reported symptoms of Sepsis include:

  • Slurred speech, confusion, excessive drowsiness
  • Excessive sleepiness or drowsiness, confusion
  • Pain or discomfort in the muscles or joints, passing very little or no urine
  • Severe breathlessness, a racing heart, shivering, fever, feeling very cold
  • “I feel like I’m going to die”
  • Skin changes like pale, cold, discoloured skin or a rash that won’t fade when pressed on

Flu Vacination for Children 2-12

The flu vaccine will be available for free for children aged from 2 to 12 this winter. It will be:

Administered by nasal spray rather than an injection

Available from the end of October 2020

For more, see https://bit.ly/2GtXbGu

 Covid-19 Differential Diagnosis

Citizens  Information Bureau

If are getting treatment for COVID-19 in hospital, you do not have to pay:

Emergency department (A&E) charges or

In-patient charges

This is because COVID-19 is a prescribed infectious disease. Read more at https://bit.ly/3jdK3Dy

 Screening Updates

Parents, Here’s How to Not Get Burned Out This Summer

Kids burn a lot of energy. In summer, when the sun is beating down, school’s out, and you have work to contend with, kids can practically drain your batteries before breakfast. This is the case every summer, but in 2020, there have been even fewer breaks to recharge. Parental burnout is real, and the overwhelming exhaustion can lead to emotional detachment, loss of productivity at work and at home, and even depression. If you think you’re susceptible to burnout, make sure you try these ideas and preventative measures to stay sane this summer! Click here:

Working at Home during the Coronavirus

https://speechblubs.com/blog/work-from-home-during-lockdown/  

Tax rebate

The government has announced a ‘stay and spend’ tax rebate for people to claim money back on part of their hospitality costs while holidaying in Ireland.   The measure was announced today as part of the government’s multi-billion-euro July stimulus plan hoped to boost the economy following the negative impacts of Covid-19. As part of this, it is understood that people can receive 20% back from their restaurant and hotel bills in the form of a tax credit at the end of the year. The rebate will come into force in October and it is expected to run until April 2021.The maximum expenditure for individuals under this measure is €625, and up to €125  can be received in tax back. This amount will be doubled for couples, who can receive up to €250 back on a spend of €1,250. People must spend a minimum of €25 to avail of this measure, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said today. Martin said the late introduction of this rebate in the year will “give the support when it is most needed” to the hospitality industry. He said this will give “opportunities for people to take weekend breaks, go to restaurants and keep the industry going” when the summer tourism season ends. The Taoiseach added that it is “critical in the winter months that we can keep income going in the sector”, at the moment and into the future.

 The Journal

Pandemic Unemployment benefit PUP . The Irish Times 27th July  Most of the 313,000 workers on the pandemic unemployment payment (PUP) face a cut in the benefit from September, but the Government will extend the scheme to April at a cost of €2.2 billion. Minister for Social Protection Heather Humphreys also pledged that the State would spend a further €100 million providing 45,500 new places on job schemes to aid those out of work. Some 313,800 people, out of work as a result of measures taken by the State to contain Covid-19’s spread, are receiving €350 a week under the pandemic unemployment scheme. The Government will cut the payment from September 17th and close it to new applicants. From then the State will pay €203 per week to those who earned less than €200 a week before Covid-19 struck. Those who earned between €200 and €300 will get €250 per week, while those who earned more than €300 a week will receive €300 per week. The scheme will run until April 2021, instead of ending in August, as the government originally planned

 Pandemic Unemployment benefit PUP Payment and travelling  to Green listed Countries

People of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment can travel to countries on the Green List without losing access to this payment, Minister Heather Humphreys has said. The Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection also said those in receipt of jobseekers assistance can also travel to Green List countries – i.e. those countries designated by the government where people can travel to and from without the advice to quarantine for 14 days afterwards – and not lose the payment.

The Journal 29th July

Pandemic unemployment Payment

If  you are getting a COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment, make sure you contact the Department of Social Protection by Monday 13th July to confirm that you are still eligible to get this payment.

You can do this online at mywelfare.ie. Click Here:

Society of  Radiographers SoR

Radiographers on the pandemic frontline poster s

Please see some posters you may wish to display from the SoR ,members  to celebrate Radiographers on the pandemic frontline.

Poster 1 Click Here:

Poster 2  Click Here:

Poster 3 Click Here:

Poster 4 Click Here:

Poster 5 Click Here:

Re-opening of Libraries’

Following the Covid-19 closures and redeployments of library staff we are pleased to be starting the phased reopening of some of our library sites.

For the safety of staff and library users and to comply with government recommendations and HSE guidelines there will be some changes to the way we operate. Here are the main points you need to know:

  • Maximum capacity: numbers of people occupying the library will be capped (details will be displayed at library entrances)
  • Physical distancing : will be strictly observed and 2m distance must be maintained, so desk and face to face services will be limited
  • Maximum time (2 hours): To comply with confined space safeguards for staff and library users after any two hours of occupancy the library must close and/or all staff and users must vacate
  • Hygiene: Hand hygiene, cough and sneeze etiquette and sanitation practices will be strictly observed
  • Book Borrowing : There will no open access to library shelves in most library sites. ‘Click & collect’ service only. Library users will be expected to place a hold on items they want to borrow using the library catalogue and will be notified by email when they are available to collect from their local library. It will only be possible to place requests on items in your home library (the library your account is based at) and only where your site is indicated as open and available for click & collect service (as below). Books should be returned in book return boxes only and returned items will be quarantined on return.
  • Computers / Photocopiers: Library users are encouraged to use their own devices where possible. Access to computers and photocopiers may be restricted and library users are expected to wipe machines with disinfectant wipes provided after use
  • Entry/ Exit : One-way systems will be in operation at some sites and library users are asked to be observant of signage

Virtual Library Services

Library users are encouraged to use virtual services where possible and make in-person library visits only when necessary.

To supplement the physical libraries and accommodate reduced onsite capacity new virtual services have been introduced.

  • LiBot, the chatbot virtual assistant: Is active on all pages of the HSE Library website providing 24/7 response. LiBot provides quick answers to standard questions and directs to resources. Use the chat button on the bottom of the page to open LiBot
  • Virtual Desk – Live sessions: The live Virtual Desk is open for assigned hours Monday – Friday and staffed by HSE Library staff. Live enquiry and chat sessions with library staff are facilitated. Virtual Desk staff respond or resolve queries in real time or refer the query on to another member of the NHLKS team via a ticketing function. Visit the virtual desk HERE (or use the tab on the side of the page).
  • FAQ Answers / Submit a query: When the Virtual Desk is not available, a detailed FAQ knowledge base is available or questions can be submitted online which will be added as tickets in the LibAnswers system and assigned to a member of library staff to resolve

Healthcare workers Flu vaccinations

The HSE will actively encourage all healthcare staff to get the flu vaccinations to support a higher uptake and increased resistance to the flu amongst healthcare workers.

Update on Screening Programmes

Screening pause background. The National Screening Service (NSS) is planning a phased restart of its screening programmes in July 2020. The programmes will restart as follows:

  • CervicalCheck will begin sending invites and reminders to participants in its cervical screening programme on July 06.
  • Diabetic RetinaScreen will also resume screening in July.
  • BreastCheck will resume screening in September/October.
  • BowelScreen will resume in September/October.

Programme restart plans

The programmes were paused in March 2020 on Public Health advice due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, people who were in the screening system at time of pause have continued to be assessed and treated as resources allow. Invitations and reminders for people who are now overdue screening will be sent on a phased basis, in line with programme prioritisation. In the case of cervical screening, this means that invitations and reminders will be first sent to people who are overdue a non-routine repeat screening. The recommencement of screening is underpinned by the assumption that there will be no worsening of the COVID-19 situation & restrictions will continue to ease. Provided all key conditions remain safe for participants and staff, on a monthly basis invitation will be sent to individuals overdue a routine screening. Existing appointments and invitations. Screening will look different when we restart. In order to ensure a safe restart, we will be taking measures to protect both participants and staff and monitoring the restart to ensure their continuing safety. For this reason, we will be unable to screen people at the same level as pre-COVID-19. We will continue to follow Public Health guidelines and will adapt our planning accordingly. The health and safety of our participants continues to be our top priority at this time. We will also be ensuring all parts of the system have sufficient capacity to process the volume of tests during the restart period, as blockages could result in delayed test results for participants. The BreastCheck static units are continuing to assist the symptomatic service delivery for their host hospitals, and prioritising patients with a known high grade/aggressive cancer. BresatCheck mobile units are being reconditioned to meet infection control and physical distancing standards ahead of breast screening restarting. BowelScreen is continuing to investigate options to ensure capacity is available for treatment when issuing of screening kits recommences. Follow -up clinics are still being held where it is possible to do so and hospital resources allow. If your appointment changes, the clinic will contact you.

What you can do

For those people worried about symptoms during the pause, we continue to advise that screening is not for people with symptoms. We would encourage those who are between screening appointments or waiting for rescheduled appointments; to be aware of, and act upon, any symptoms associated with the conditions for which they are being screened. We ask that those people contact their GP, who will arrange appropriate follow-up care. For more information, please contact the Freephone line on 1800 45 45 55 or email info@screeningservice.ie

Pandemic unemployment payment (PUP) Update

ANNE-MARIE WALSH INDUSTRY CORRESPONDENT

People claiming the Covid-19 unemployment benefit are risking the prospect of big repayments if they work even a couple of hours a week. Concerns have been raised that some recipients may not realise they must close their claim, even if not working full-time. This may apply to part-time or self-employed workers who return to work on reduced hours or are contracted to carry out individual projects.

Unlike standard jobseeker benefits, those on the pandemic payment cannot work part-time and collect benefits for the days they do not work.

There are almost half a million people on the pandemic payment – although the number fell from a peak of almost 600,000 in May.” The pandemic unemployment payment is only payable if an employee has lost their job and is fully unemployed,” said a spokesperson at the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection. “People who return to work but on reduced hours may be eligible for other income supports depending on the individual’s circumstances.”

Irish Independent 23rd June 2020

HIQA Inspection Report
HIQA published the inspection  report on Tuesday 16th of June . a milestone day for all Diagnostic and Radiation Therapy departments nationally.
Medical exposure to ionising radiation is when radiation is used as part of diagnosis such as a dental X-ray or CT scan or the use of radiotherapy as part of cancer treatment at a hospital. It also includes radiation received for medical research purposes and radiation received by carers and comforters while attending a patient.

These inspections are HIQA’s first to be carried out within private sector healthcare facilities to ensure compliance with new regulations signed in 2019. The new regulations provide HIQA with enforcement powers in public and private healthcare for the first time in respect of medical exposures.

John Tuffy, Regional Manager for Ionising Radiation, said “Radiation is used widely in healthcare and new regulations set the minimum standards for the protection of patients when they are being exposed to ionising radiation. These inspections have given us insights into the ionising radiation regulations in practice and while we have seen several areas of good practice, we also identified some areas for improvement which we will be working with services on.”

Link to 10 inspection reports Click Here:

Video fluoroscopy Survey

Project title: Video fluoroscopy for assessment of swallowing problems: a survey to understand current practice Professor Julie Nightingale/ Liz Boaden

The University of Central Lancashire and Sheffield Hallam University are conducting a survey of Radiographers and Radiologists who have experience of working in VFSS imaging procedures (Video fluoroscopy of Swallowing) in the UK and the Republic of Ireland. The survey is part of a wider programme of research and will provide us with an understanding of how VFSS is currently practised. This information, along with our existing review of VFSS national guidelines, will inform the design of a new, best practice guideline for VFSS, with the aim of benefitting both patients and health care professionals. Click here:

Pandemic Unemployment Payment Update (PUP)

From June 29th a two-tier payment will be applied to PUP . This new system will be based on your prior earnings.

Tier 1 -For those whose prior earnings were less than €200 a week, the PUP will be reduced to €203.

Tier 2 -For those whose previous earnings were more than €200 a week, the PUP will remain at €350

Previous earnings will be taken as the higher of your average weekly earnings for Jan/Feb2020 or all of 2019. The PUP will expire on August the 10th.

IIRRT Funding Call

Applications for funding for Radiation Therapy and Diagnostic Imaging student research activities are now being invited for the 2020 IIRRT Research and Development Fund. Closing Date is June 26th, 2020. Members should login to see full details – (Go to Members Area / student area/ student grant funding) or email info@iirrt.ie. Through the Student Research Funding Programme the IIRRT seeks to encourage undergraduate Radiographers and Radiation Therapists to bring their undergraduate research projects to a national/international level, by the provision of funding to support either research expenses (equipment, travel, etc) or research dissemination (presentations at conferences etc).For any queries please email

Pandemic Unemployment Payment 4th June

The Taoiseach gave three assurances to everyone in receipt of the payment .

“First of all, it will be extended, for months not weeks.

“Secondly, no on working full time before the pandemic will see their payment cut. It will stay at €350 a week.

“Those who were working part-time will see their weekly payment reduced, but their weekly payment will still be more than they were earning.”

Screening Services Minister of Health Dail statement 4th June

There is a resumption of services plan and a framework being developed to support the restart  and of  Cervical Breast Check, Diabetic, Retina and Bowel screening programmes, Cervical screening is working hard in the background with HPV testing.  Breast Check are working with infection control teams to make the 20 Breast Check mobile units compliant with social distancing guidelines. The National Screening service is holding daily meetings lead by Dr Caroline Mason who is leading the working group .

ATTENTION DI & RT STUDENTS : Applications for funding for Radiation Therapy and Diagnostic Imaging student research activities are now being invited for the 2020 IIRRT Research and Development Fund. Closing Date is June 26th, 2020. IIRRT website link for full detail Click Here:

HSE The Health Services Change Guide

The Health Services Change Guide is a step by step guide that will help you to lead and bring about change. It features helpful and practical advice from practitioners, leaders, service users and staff. You will also find evidence to back-up the approach. This Change Guide works as part of our Human Resource and other service, quality improvement and culture change programmes. In line with our Health Services People Strategy 2019-2024 all of these programmes are bringing us closer to our goal of delivering person centred care and public value

Click Here:

All you need to know about Zoom Meetings

These are helpful tutorials to help you set up on-line  meetings via ZOOM Click Here:

Minister for Health announces influenza vaccines to be made available without charge to all children aged 2-12 and all risk groups

Minister for Health Simon Harris TD has today announced his intention to extend the influenza vaccine to children without charge. Minister Harris confirmed all of those in the HSE-defined at-risk groups, aged from 6 months to 69 years inclusive will also be available to access the vaccine without charge. All persons aged over 70 already have access without charges. The vaccination will be available to all children aged from 2 to 12 years inclusive. Click Here:

HSE HPSC cautions to be aware and prepare to prevent Legionnaires’ Disease

Published: May 18, 2020

The HSE Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) has urged people to be aware of Legionnaires’ Disease, a type of pneumonia which causes serious illness in people aged over 50 years, smokers, and those with underlying health conditions. Legionnaires’ Disease and the milder form, Pontiac fever, a flu-like illness, are caused by the growth of Legionella bacteria in water systems which are not adequately managed.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, many buildings have been closed, or their use restricted. This can increase the risk of Legionella growth in the water systems and associated equipment including evaporative air conditioning systems, water fountains, showers, spa pools, and other equipment if the water systems have not been managed adequately.

The illness is acquired by the inhalation of aerosolised water contaminated with Legionella bacteria. The case fatality rate (rate of deaths associated with Legionnaires’ disease) is about 10%. The incubation period for Legionnaires’ Disease is usually about 2-10 days with symptoms appearing 5-6 days after infection but may take longer. The illness usually starts with flu-like symptoms including fever, tiredness, headache, and muscle pains. This is followed by a dry cough and breathing difficulties that may progress to a severe pneumonia.
It is very important that during this pandemic and in particular, before reopening occurs that all water systems are kept safe for the future health and safety of guests, visitors and staff

https://www.hpsc.ie/news/title-19890-en.html

HPSC Occupational Health

The interim guidance document aims to outline the role of Occupational Health in preparing for and managing potential COVID-19 exposures. Click Here:

Use of Gloves when shopping

There is no need to use gloves when shopping or outdoors to protect against Covid-19, the Health Service Executive has advised. Although the use of disposable and other types of gloves has become a common sight during the pandemic, the HSE is recommending against their use.

“We do not recommend using gloves while doing your shopping or when you are out and about,” says Prof Martin Cormican, HSE national lead for infection control.

“If there are bugs on your gloves those bugs often end up on your hands when you take the gloves off and from there, they can very easily end up in your mouth, nose and eyes

 The Faculty of Radiologists Statement on COVID-19 Management in Radiology Departments

The purpose of this statement is to provide advice to the Irish radiology community regarding the management of COVID-19 patients in their departments. The recommendations included in this document are subject to change given the rapid evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic

RSCI Interventional Article

Virtual Health

The COVID-19 pandemic presents significant challenges for the delivery of health services; both in terms of the continuity of standard care, and in the provision of services specifically tailored to address the pandemic. Given the emphasis placed on ensuring social distancing where possible in the community, and as part of efforts to reduce the transmission of the coronavirus to healthcare workers, solutions to allow clinical consultations take place remotely using videoconferencing are required.

For further information Click Here:

HSE Update Healthcare workers that can get temporary accommodation

All healthcare workers can apply for temporary accommodation.

This includes staff in:

  • HSE
  • community healthcare
  • Section 38 and 39 organisations including voluntary hospital staff
  • National Ambulance Service
  • private nursing homes
  • long-term disability and mental health residential facilities

As a healthcare worker, you can apply for temporary accommodation if you:

  • live with family members that are self-isolating and you cannot return home
  • live with vulnerable persons
  • require emergency accommodation due to urgent response or mitigating factors
  • require accommodation in order to facilitate rosters
  • share accommodation where you are at an increased risk of getting or spreading COVID-19 (this does not include couples or co-habiting family members who normally live together)
  • returned from overseas and are contracted to work and require accommodation
  • live in congregated domestic living arrangements, for example, a hostel, a direct provision centre

Click Here:

Video fluoroscopy Survey

Project title: Video fluoroscopy for assessment of swallowing problems: a survey to understand current practice Professor Julie Nightingale/ Liz Boaden

The University of Central Lancashire and Sheffield Hallam University are conducting a survey of Radiographers and Radiologists who have experience of working in VFSS imaging procedures (Videofluoroscopy of Swallowing) in the UK and the Republic of Ireland. The survey is part of a wider programme of research and will provide us with an understanding of how VFSS is currently practised. This information, along with our existing review of VFSS national guidelines, will inform the design of a new, best practice guideline for VFSS, with the aim of benefitting both patients and health care professionals.

VF Current Practice Survey

HSCP Share Blog from Kate Murphy, Radiographer St Luke’s Hospital Kilkenny

I can distinctly recall the date of the first Covid-19 patient that was admitted to St. Luke’s Hospital in Kilkenny. Ironically, it was on Friday, the 13th March 2020. It was so rehearsed, systematic, an ideal scenario in fact – the patient was calmly examined in a dedicated isolation room. ‘Recent travel from China’ read the clinical indications on the X-ray order.

We have come a long way since then. Now we are led by daily algorithms and HPSC updates have dictated new work-flow operational practices for Primary Care centres, ED staff and in turn, radiographers.  Referral criteria for chest X-rays and CT scans have been modified in line with best international practise. Operational workflow arrangements to deal with both COVID and non-COVID work streams have been organised so that the care streams never meet, in order to minimise infection crossover risk.

Digital mobile radiography is the new standard to reduce the transfer of infection. Strict infection control measures are adhered to – “donning and doffing” are the new buzz words for radiographers. We have also introduced a Buddy system to minimise cross infection whilst X-raying COVID patients. Many patients, either intubated or on admission to the Medical Assessment Unit, appear agitated as the infection takes hold. This makes the whole event of performing a mobile X-ray tense as conversation with the patient is limited. These conditions make it difficult to empathise with the patient.

I am a well-seasoned radiographer and I have found it heart-breaking to work in these circumstances, only to find that, in some cases, the patient has unfortunately passed some days later. I’m now an expert in PPE. I can discern the quality of good PPE from a mile off. I spend much of my day in a whole white body suit that was not so long ago commonplace on media images we saw from Italy and Spain. Where initially there was one patient, now there are often four to five portables to be performed in a COVID ward. The suits are hot and difficult to move in but a necessary evil. I keep telling myself that I will never take another free dessert from the canteen again, but my willpower is shocking.

It has been six life-changing weeks since the crisis took hold and there is no sign of it abating any time soon. My physical and mental well-being is tested on every shift. Equally though, valuable lessons have been learned and strong work friendships formed in the face of hourly adversity and crisis.

There have been many days and nights since this crisis started that I have questioned why I ever become a Radiographer. I lost a good friend just last week and discovered this awful news by casually looking up RIP.ie whilst I was on call. I was able to not attend her funeral or pass my condolences to her family. There is no longer a vent to express the normal phases of grief. I have lost work colleagues and the realisation that I too may succumb to COVID 19 is never far from my mind.

I am not a great cook or champion organiser but since the crisis has begun, Nigella, Kevin Dundun and Nevin Maguire are strewn across the kitchen table. Blobs of flour and egg shells mark my attempts at becoming the next Nigella.

My teenage children can sleep for Ireland, but they have, on a couple of occasions, acknowledged what I do for them on the frontline … and that has brought a tear to my eye. I realise I am a radiographer because I worked hard to be one and that example is what I want to impart onto them.

The weeks do pass, and I have a diary noting the dates that Occupational Health have phoned to say I was either a close or casual contact. Little else goes into it. My social diary is clear. However, the weather outside is getting better and with that brings hope …

This blog was written by Kate Murphy, Radiation Protection Officer, St. Luke’s Hospital, Kilkenny with support from all the Radiography team in St. Luke’s Hospital

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Social Distancing from pets CDC

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is recommending that pet owners implement the same social distance guidelines humans are following with each other after a small number of cats tested positive for COVID-19.

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Society of Radiographers SoR .What’s next for patient non -covid but need’s urgent care

As the Covid-19 emergency continues, many radiographers and clinical staff are understandably concerned about what is happening to ‘other patients’: those who urgently need diagnosis and treatment.

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The Coronavirus Ireland Podcast

Pregnancy and Covid-19: Prof. Gráinne Flannelly a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist to discuss pregnancy in the context of Covid-19

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ISRRT news and Views from around the world

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 Reproduction Number Update

Thankfully the R number has fallen again this week . Professor Nolan, Chair of NPHET Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group said there were four separate methods to estimate this number, and that all four confirm “with a high level of confidence” that it is now between 0.5 and 0.8. It also means that on average, if half the population gets the virus, they are not spreading it to anybody else.

Professor Nolan did advise though if some restrictions are relaxed on 5 May, people maintain very strong physical distancing, and the number climbs just over 1, the number of cases will rise slowly

HSE Graph of Reproduction number

 Thinking of you Initiative Sligo University Hospital

This is a really nice initiative for families to communicate with relatives in hospitals at this time

SUH are introducing a new initiative in SUH called Thinking of You!  It allows families, friends and neighbour’s to email good wishes etc via email. Each email will be delivered daily to the patient’s location in a sealed envelope.  I attach a poster for your information.

Thinking of you poster

Pivoting, at Pace, to Virtual Patient Management, Communication and Education

Over the past six weeks, the SCOPe Directorate* in St. James’s Hospital has pivoted from primarily in person assessment and review to a Telehealth model. This Blog will set out the key enablers that made it possible to achieve this change at pace. Click Here

 Shopping Safely during Corona Virus HSE

I included this advice that may help your families when shopping . I am sure you are all well aware of the precautions to take when shopping.

Try to limit shopping trips to once a week. This reduces your risk of getting coronavirus or spreading it to others. No reported cases of coronavirus have been linked to contaminated food. Animals or animal products legally imported into the EU are not a health risk from coronavirus.

Follow these steps to reduce your risk of getting coronavirus or spreading it to others.

When shopping:

  • Use the sanitiser provided for your hands and trolley or basket.
  • Remember to avoid touching your face.
  • If you cough or sneeze, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve.
  • Follow social distancing guidelines – keep 2 metres distance between yourself and others in queues and while shopping.
  • Pay by card instead of cash and use contactless payment if possible.

HSE Shopping Guidelines Click Here

BIR

“The BIR’s Annual RT and Oncology meeting will be held on the 18-19 March 2021 in London”.

You can find more details on the event including registration and programme on the BIR website.

Please note that the submission deadline for call for abstracts is 5pm on 30th  September 2020 and submissions can be made here (there’s a link on the webpage too).”

Pregnant Healthcare Workers (HCWs), Vulnerable HCWs 

Pre-Existing Disease Version 5, 15/04/2020

In order to ensure the health and safety of our HCWs, this guidance provides advice for vulnerable HCWs, HCWs with pre-existing disease and HCWs who are pregnant, and their manager Click Here:

Health protection Surveillance Centre HPSC 

Derogation for the return to work of Healthcare Workers (HCW) who have been advised to restrict their movements BUT are identified as essential for critical services – Version 4.1 – 10th Apr 2020

This document refers to HCWs who are restricting their movements due to Close Contact with a COVID-19 case, due to international travel after 6pm on the 16th Mar 2020 and other HCWs who are required to self-isolate or restrict movements but who are deemed lower risk.

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 Clinical Trails

The Head of the World Health Organisation, Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus says three vaccines for Covid-19 have started clinical trials and 70 more are in the planning stage.

Examples of how Irish tech and MedTech are joining the global fightback against Covid-19.

Ireland has risen to the battle against Covid-19 with what can only be described as dignity and aplomb. Adherence to social distancing rules by the general public and the stoic and courageous response by frontline workers from shops and banks to the bravery of medical workers in hospitals and nursing homes have all played a part. There are more than 100 different projects from PPE and contact tracing to ventilators and vaccination are currently under way across the entire island of Ireland. Read More:

Safe Food

Covid-19 has brought us to a serious time, whether we are front-line workers, small businesses adjusting to social distancing, or balancing working from home with looking after children. As this situation becomes the new normal, we are all adapting to new routines and ways of co-existing. Everyone’s situation is different but setting up a home routine will help put structure on your day. Set times around meals, breaks, snacks, getting outdoors, time for schoolwork, managing workload and so on.

There’s no perfect solution or ‘best practice’ but here’s some advice that might help everyone keep healthy in mind and body over the weeks ahead. And remember, we can only do our best. Read More:

Safe Food Groceries /Covid-19

Currently, there is no evidence that COVID-19 can be transmitted by food or food packaging.

However, it is always important to follow good hygiene practices when handling or preparing foods. You should always wash your hands and surfaces often, separate raw meat from other foods, cook to the right temperature and put food in the fridge as soon as you can. Read More:

The IIRRT support the call for student radiographers to be paid and have sent a letter to Minster for Health  Simon Harris addressing this matter .

Around 50 student radiographers who are helping battle Covid-19 ask Simon Harris to pay them Click Here:

COVID-19 Healthcare worker Vehicle pass C-19 Vehicle Pass

COVID-19 (Coronavirus): Health advice for parents and children

Sharing of Information to support each other

I will update the IIRRT resource repository weekly and also add updates from Departments nationally on how they are managing  the Covid-19 outbreak. I am sure there are a lot of useful tips that Radiographers and Radiation Therapists  have developed locally that could help other departments. I am happy to collate the updates if you can email me before Wednesday each week on iirrtcpdofficer@gmail.com

IIRRT Council Advice on Covid-19

The IIRRT have provided information and direction to IIRRT members and non-members  regarding COVID-19.  Click here

Redeployment of HSE Staff during Covid-19 HSE Staff Policy and Procedure

This Policy applies to all HSE employees and to all grades of staff during COVID-19.  It has immediate effect and replaces all previous instructions in operation in the HSE.   Reorganisation of the health service and effective redeployment of health service employees is one of the core elements of the HSE’s response to COVID-19 infection.  As COVID-19 progresses all health services will come under particular strain.   As the demand for health services increases, the number of HSE employees available to provide services may decrease due to absenteeism Click here

Maternity guidelines

Pregnant and post- partum period management guidance for COVID-19 Click here

 Social Media Platforms Twitter Accounts

IIRRT Instagram account

Facebook Accounts

  • IIRRT Facebook Page
  • Radiography & Medical Radiation Science
  • Worldwide RT Facebook

HSCP Share Blog

Following the launch of the HSCP Share blog yesterday, we’ll be posting a series of eHealth-related blogs, beginning today.

  • You can follow these blogs by going to hscpshare.com and adding your email address to the ‘Follow’ box. We’re also on twitter – @WeHSCPs.
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