In response to the initial phases of COVID-19 pandemic, we changed the way services were delivered in the Western Trust. A wide range of services were stood down or scaled back due to the risk of spread of COVID-19. New services were introduced to meet the predicted demands of the pandemic.

Focus on planning, with our HSC partners

With the first peak of the COVID-19 outbreak in Northern Ireland having passed, our focus is now on planning, with our HSC partners, how to restart services while maintaining sufficient flexibility so that our services can respond to future waves of this disease.

In working together with our health and social care partners across NI to implement the recovery of non-COVID-19 HSC Services, the agreed regional approach will be to ensure equity of access to treatment for patients and clients across NI, to minimise transmission of COVID-19 and to protect the most urgent services.

Checklist established

A set of guiding principles in the form of a ‘checklist’ has been established by the Department of Health (DoH) to guide service planning. The DoH has asked that service restart plans be assessed against the checklist to ensure that they have been subject to a rigorous risk assessment, take account of new ways of working and can be safely implemented in line with social distancing, use of personal protective equipment (PPE) and infection prevention and control requirements. The Western Trust has introduced a Reset Framework to support staff in assessing the impact of scaling up or restarting services and to ensure there is a rigorous and careful approach to planning.

The Western Trust Stage 1 Plan identifies the services we have maintained throughout these initial months of the COVID-19 pandemic across a wide range of areas. It identifies those that we will continue and others that we will begin to restart or scale up. It sets out some of the important preparation work needed to provide COVID-19 safe environments and working practices, to protect our staff, patients and service users.


There are a number of constraints which are foremost in the planning process, including availability of PPE; availability of drugs and restrictions on the practice of vulnerable staff.

Our Stage 1 plan will focus on:

  • Supporting strong community services for frail or older people.
  • Preparing for the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health services.
  • Managing risk, and providing COVID-19-safe services for staff and our service users.
  • Involving our staff and service users.

Speaking about the launch of Stage 1 of the Trust’s Reset Plan Dr Anne Kilgallen, Western Trust Chief Executive said:

“There is no doubt that this has been one of the most difficult periods we have ever had to experience. I would like to thank our community and hospital staff for their hard work and dedication. Members of the public have also been unwavering in their support and this has not gone unnoticed."

“There are many challenges which we have faced and will continue to face in the new COVID-19 environment. Our Stage 1 plan sets out the steps we are taking to rebuild, reset and make necessary changes to our services into the future.

“It is accepted that COVID-19 remains a public health risk to our population and a phased and flexible approach is needed to restarting services. As a result, the way services are delivered may look and feel different. There are opportunities to do things differently in ways that improve care. Many great initiatives have already begun.”

Dr Kilgallen continued: “While there are significant challenges ahead, the public should be reassured that we are committed to providing the best possible care in environments that reduce the risk of infection for staff and services users alike. We will continue to work diligently to create COVID-19-safe environments while we rebuild services.”

View a copy of the rebuilding plan – Stage One