Dr. Anne Kilgallen pays comprehensive tribute to Western Trust workers - 'It's been an absolute privilege'
Western Trust Chief Executive Dr. Anne Kilgallen has paid comprehensive tribute to the thousands of health care workers she has led over the past four years.
Dr. Kilgallen praised WHSCT workers for their 'dedication and commitment' after an extraordinary 15 months.
She was speaking as she prepares to hand over the reigns to her successor, the former WHSCT finance chief Neil Guckian.
"It's been a privilege for me to be Chief Executive for the past four years, an absolute privilege. I feel very proud to have known and worked with staff in this organisation.
"The evidence that I see on a daily basis is that all of you work consistently and collectively to deliver high quality care, to constantly maintain a high standard of practice and to seek to improve," she said.
Dr. Kilgallen was appointed as Chief Executive following Elaine Way's retirement in 2017.
She acknowledged that the past year has been particularly challenging but praised her colleagues for how they have responded to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"I'm thinking of our ICU and our respiratory wards responding to COVID. I'm thinking of our Adult Mental Health Wards responding to the large increase in distressed and mentally ill people who have presented during the period of COVID.
"I'm thinking of our health improvement staff who worked collectively and collaboratively with our councils and our community and voluntary sector so that those who are most vulnerable in our community were supported during COVID.
"I'm thinking of our professional staff, our nurses, our doctors, our social workers, our Allied Health professions who came to work every single day even though they were uncertain, unsure and frightened of what the virus might hold for them."
She said that behind the scenes at the Western Trust there was an army of workers without whom the provision of front-line health care would not be possible.
"I'm thinking about our support staff. I've visited the laundries and the kitchens. I've been in those places which are largely unseen to most of us but which are really the engine rooms of this great organisation. I'm so glad to have been stopped by the porters at some of our doors and questioned about my direction and where I was going."
The Infection Prevention and Control Team were 'stalwarts' who played a critical role protecting patients and service users, not just during the coronavirus pandemic but throughout her tenure, she said.
Stellar diagnostic work has also continued at the Western Trust laboratories, she added.
"We're so aware of it now because of COVID but every single day thousands of tests and diagnostics are carried out in our laboratories in radiology, in physiology, in many parts of this organisation to enable us to understand and meet people's needs," she said.
Dr. Kilgallen went on to praise the WHSCT HR team for its 'huge role in standing up our vaccination programme.' She said the Trust ICT team 'managed to get computers to more than 3,000 staff so that they've been able to work remotely and right across our digital infrastructure.'
And the WHSCT communications team managed 'to bring out the best in us, the best pictures, the best angles and the clearest messaging across the organisation.'
Dr. Kilgallen observed: "Most of all what I value in this organisation is the compassion and the kindness that I've experienced and that I see reflected in the compliments that we get through Care Opinion and through the handwritten cards and notes that come in our doors on a regular basis.
"Whatever the future holds I want all of you to remember the competence with which you have coped over this last 15 months. I want you to remember that you can do it. I want you to focus on making services better, supporting each other, and above all retaining your sense of compassion and kindness."