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FOREWORD


Healthcare engineering takes centre stage during global pandemic


It is my joint pleasure, alongside incoming International Federation of Healthcare Engineering (IFHE) President Daniela Pedrini, to present IFHE Digest 2021. This is somewhat an unusual situation we find ourselves in, but I suspect that 2020 will be remembered as a year in which so much changed on a global scale. 2020 was a year that redefined normal and, as we enter 2021, I expect there is a strong feeling of anticipation that the disruption over the past year may be stabilised as we adapt to a new future.


It is because of this disruption that the Presidency of IFHE is changing at an unusual time, with the deferral of the much anticipated 2020 IFHE Congress. It was in April 2016 at the IFHE Congress meeting hosted by NVTG in The Hague that the vote was taken for the Italian Society for Engineering and Architecture (SIAIS) of Italy to host the IFHE Congress marking 50 years since the establishment of the Federation. The 26th Congress should have been held in May 2020, at which point I was anticipating passing the leadership of IFHE to Daniela. Despite all the anticipation and planning, sadly this was interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic that has created such international upheaval. It must also be recognised that the loss of life, physical, social and financial impact has been extreme, and the ongoing effects of this situation will be felt for many years to come. Virtual meetings have become a normal


part of life as travel has been disrupted and isolation forced upon us. So the release of this edition of the IFHE Digest coincides closely with the first ever ‘virtual’ IFHE Council meeting and Congress. Much will be said of the celebration of the 50 years of IFHE. Sadly, however, the opportunity to meet in person and share the fraternity of the global network will have to wait. I certainly look forward to seeing many of you in person when that is possible. The past year has seen healthcare engineering take centre stage during the


IFHE DIGEST 2021


COVID-19 pandemic. Global healthcare systems have been stretched beyond capacity, and the expertise represented by national organisations around the world who are brought together in the IFHE, has been thrust into the limelight to provide solutions for new and significant problems. An example of this was seen when the vastness of Manchester Central Convention Complex, where the IHEEM Healthcare Estates Conference has been held for many years, was converted into a Nightingale hospital in very short order to cater for the


expected influx of patients. This demanded rapid-response engineering solutions, as did many other projects around the globe, and healthcare engineers, architects,


maintenance and operational experts have risen to the challenge and shone brightly. The efforts of many in the IFHE


Darryl Pitcher


Darryl Pitcher is chief executive officer of Bethsalem Care and GreenBriars Village in Australia. Darryl has many years of experience in hospital engineering in the public and private sectors. He is a past president of the Institute of Hospital Engineering, Australia (IHEA). Previously he oversaw a ‘revamp’ of the IHEA website and The Australian Hospital Engineer journal.


Virtual meetings have become a normal part of life as travel has been disrupted and isolation forced upon us


community who responded to the call from the World Health Organization to respond to this crisis in a number of developing countries is to be commended. The technical teams who produced these results are also to be applauded. Yet while there has been a massive


focus on the COVID-19 response and preparedness, the ‘usual’ challenges of healthcare engineering have not dissipated. So once again this Digest has 28 contributions representing 8 member organisations of the IFHE community. The content is once again robust and


broad, and we thank all the contributors, the review panel, especially the IFHE liaison coordinator, Andy Wavell, and the publishers for bringing this edition to you. As I leave the IFHE in the hands of


incoming President Daniela Pedrini, I look forward to seeing many of you at future IFHE activities, either in person or virtually. Thank you all for your support of the IFHE during my term as President.


Darryl Pitcher


Outgoing President – International Federation of Healthcare Engineering


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