In a question and answer session with a member of the NHS staff, we talked to Brenda McCabe, the community midwife team leader at Omagh Hospital and Primary Care Complex and South West Acute Hospital, Enniskillen...
How worried are you about the current situation?
I remain worried about the potential impact this virus is going to have on our family, friends, the community, our wonderful NHS, the economy and mental health.
The messages are clear overall sources of media and communication networks to social distance, regularly practice good hand hygiene and if required self-isolate.
I do feel that the public in more recent weeks has become more compliant with these required practices and that gives me some reassurances to help delay and shorten the peak of the curve.
What are the main challenges in the current situation?
To protect and safeguard our services for the mothers and babies we serve we have temporarily redirected some of our services from the South West Acute Hospital.
The antenatal consultant clinics are all operating from Women & Family Department at Omagh Hospital and Primary Care Complex.
We also temporarily relocated the Enniskillen area community midwives from the main hospital building to key worker accommodation to protect our community antenatal and postnatal mums and babies.
I am so proud of the teamwork, the comradery, the dedication and commitment from the staff during this challenging time.
Our community midwives continue to ensure they provide excellent, safe quality for our expectant mothers and babies.
It must be an emotional time for you and your family?
It can be hard for them to see you needing to be at work on the frontline, with a global pandemic threat at large.
The required media attention shows the stark reality of what can potentially happen if we do contact this virus and the family see and understand that.
However, they are so proud and have a deeper respect for you for doing this. It has made them examine real qualities in life that matter.
It has been a really hard life lesson for them but one that can only make us all better and selfless people.
Do you feel enough protective measures are in place to safeguard you and your family? Do you feel more can be done?
We are doing the best we can, with the professional advice we are to follow and the resources that have been available to us.
The support from our local community who have come forward with donations has been absolutely outstanding and it has brought real community spirit together to help us all fight this battle and we are extremely grateful for their support.
The restrictions of free movement have been a welcome as it really has reduced unnecessary public socialization.
How is your workload at the moment?
It varies from day to day but you are effectively always on duty. Even when you try to take a day off there is always a need to check in with your colleagues regarding changes.
This is unprecedented times and you do what you can as best as you can for as much as you can. Time out is important too to refresh and reload. The team, I must say are exceptional.
Everyone has their bad moments we are only human too, and when they occur there you have your colleges around you who help you through these as they too understand too well how you feel.
We are all in this together and we are stronger supporting each other.
Are you having to work extra days/hours?
We are able to provide the required day-to-day care at present with our current staffing but all the issues around this pandemic; be it professional, personal, organisational etc. have required staff coming in outside their normal work pattern and contracted hours to help support the requirements needed to prepare for this.
What is your daily workday pattern and have your duties changed in this current situation?
I get up early every morning that I am scheduled to go to work and prepare myself not to leave until I have done as much as I can that will be of help. The usual diary I kept before this was organised and scheduled.
This has all been cleared and as things change and move frequently you have to adapt your working day to prioritising and react to those ever-changing needs. It seems like fire fighting sometimes but when you achieve something set to you and consider the circumstances we are in, it is so much more satisfying.
What advice have you for the public?
We can only be as good as our job if you do yours well. I know it may seem repetitive but PLEASE Stay at home, keep up good hand hygiene practices and social distance. It will work!
Take this time to enjoy family time. Have fun with your children at home. Marvel in the way that technology can maintain our social contact with loves ones and friends.
Embrace the creativity that is now required to entertain ourselves and enable us to maintain communication. Don't dwell on the things we can’t have at the minute because they are small sacrifices and in doing this you are saving lives.