President’s Message

Healthcare managers have shown leadership during COVID-19

Lorcan BirthistleColleagues,

COVID 19 has had a profound impact on people’s lives and on their health. Its social and economic impacts are likely to be with us for some time after a vaccine has been developed and we finally get to grips with this virus.

For those of us working in the health services, COVID 19 has brought unprecedented challenges. It has challenged us to change how we deliver services, it has challenged us to work across boundaries between hospitals and community, between private and public providers and even between the health services and the broader public services. It is not unexpected but it is worth noting that the people who work in all arms of the health services have risen to and continue to rise to these challenges in order to provide care to those who need it.

Health managers have played a key leadership role throughout this period. This has been especially difficult. Very often, Leadership is based on knowledge of what to do which in itself is often based on experience. But none of us, regardless of the length or breadth of our experience has ever had to deal with a pandemic of this scale or of this impact. And so providing leadership in the absence of knowledge or certainty is new and is extremely difficult. Accepting this, it has never been more important that we have strong leadership at all levels and across all disciplines within the health services. I want to take this opportunity to acknowledge all the healthcare staff who have worked so hard over recent months under very difficult circumstances to provide the best care we can to the people we serve. I also want to acknowledge healthcare managers for the leadership they have shown throughout this period.
The challenge we face now is one of sustaining the effort for a further period in the hope, but no certainty, of a vaccine during 2021. The general public have willingly complied with what has been asked of them, but the ask is getting more difficult and as yet the timeframe remains uncertain. This means that the leadership challenge is not just within our services but also among the communities that we serve.

In order to sustain the effort we must also sustain ourselves and it is hoped that in some small way the HMI can play its role in supporting managers during this difficult time. While our activities have also been impacted by COVID 19, we are planning a number of events and publications that will be of interest and maybe some assistance to you over the coming months. I invite you to remain engaged with your HMI and work with us to ensure that we remain of interest and relevance to you.

Lorcan Birthistle
HMI President