NHS Trust boss accuses her own staff of being responsible for coronavirus outbreak on wards


NHS Trust boss accuses her own staff of being responsible for coronavirus outbreak on wards by wearing PPE inappropriately

  • Hillingdon Hospital in Uxbridge forced to close to emergencies since Monday
  • Trust’s chief executive Sarah Tedford blamed outbreak on ‘irresponsible’ staff 
  • In a message sent to staff, she accused them of ‘not wearing appropriate masks’
  • But some claim outbreak was triggered by them being admonished by managers

The chief executive of a hospital in Boris Johnson’s constituency has blamed an outbreak of coronavirus on ‘irresponsible’ staff failing to wear masks and adhere to social distancing rules.

Hillingdon Hospital has been forced to close to emergencies since Monday night.

NHS officials said that up to 70 staff were in self-isolation including ‘a number’ who had tested positive.’

Ambulances are being diverted to other trusts although walk-in A&E patients can still be seen.

A general view of Hillingdon hospital in west London on July 8. The site has been forced to close to emergencies since Monday night after a coronavirus outbreak 

On Friday, the trust’s chief executive, Sarah Tedford, sent a message to staff saying: ‘I am told some of you are not wearing appropriate masks and you are not adhering to social distancing. This has resulted in an outbreak on a ward where our staff have contracted Covid-19.

‘If you do not follow the guidance, we cannot keep you safe. I don’t like wearing a mask, but it would be irresponsible of me not to do so. Please think very carefully about what you are doing and ask yourselves if you are keeping yourself safe and if you are keeping each other safe.

She added in the message reported by The Guardian: ‘Can I please remind you to take responsibility for yourself and your team and help us all beat Covid-19? The lockdown is being lifted. Please ensure we play our part in not spreading Covid-19 and leading by example.

‘This is such a serious matter, and at the moment I’m afraid some of us are not demonstrating the behaviour we should be. If you see someone not adhering to the guidance, please remind them of their responsibilities.’

However, the Mail has been informed that some frontline workers claim the outbreak was triggered by them being admonished by managers for wearing facemasks ‘inappropriately’.

A letter sent by a group of doctors to Ms Tedford this week warns that consultants and junior doctors had been told to remove the masks.

Staff were told off about their ‘inappropriate use of PPE (personal protective equipment)’, the letter from the doctors on the local negotiating committee alleges.

The outbreak is believed to be centred on the eight-bed Bevan ward which was being used to treat Covid patients.

NHS officials said that up to 70 staff who work at the hospital in Uxbridge, pictured above, were in self-isolation including ‘a number’ who had tested positive’

NHS officials said that up to 70 staff who work at the hospital in Uxbridge, pictured above, were in self-isolation including ‘a number’ who had tested positive’

The hospital is run by Hillingdon Hospitals NHS Foundation trust and serves a catchment population of 350,000 people, mostly in the Prime Minister’s constituency of Uxbridge and South Ruislip.

Although ambulances are currently being diverted and doctors are unable to refer patients directly in via A&E, other departments including maternity remain open.

Professor Kevin Fenton, London regional director for Public Health England said: ‘We are supporting Hillingdon hospital after a number of staff who are now self-isolating tested positive for Covid-19.

‘Together with the trust’s management, the local authority public health team and the Joint Biosecurity Centre, PHE’s role is to provide advice on actions that can limit the spread of infection including enhanced cleaning, reviewing infection control practices and reinforcing hand hygiene and social distancing.

‘Overall, levels of coronavirus across London boroughs, including Hillingdon, remain low and steady. This incident is currently isolated to the hospital with no indication of wider community transmission, however we remain vigilant and are carefully monitoring the situation.’

A spokesman for the trust said: ‘A number of our staff have either tested positive for Covid-19 or are self-isolating, and arrangements are in place to maintain safe and high quality care. Any impact on patients has been kept to an absolute minimum.

‘The vast majority of our staff are maintaining social distancing and it is essential that everyone follows the guidance if we are to provide the safest care to our patients.’

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