The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) is calling on the HSE to suspend all services at Naas General Hospital due to coronavirus related staff shortages.
The union says it has been advised that there are 35 nursing staff and 10 HCA staff currently unavailable to frontline rosters due to Covid-19 infections in the hospital.
The INMO has written to hospital management, calling for a number of measures to be implemented, which are:
- All elective/day surgery and outpatient work immediately cease to allow for the safe staffing of inpatient rosters.
- HSE and Naas General Hospital to advise the public of the current challenges within the hospital and to only attend the hospital if absolutely necessary.
- All catchment area GPs be advised of the crisis and referrals to other locations to be made.
INMO industrial relations officer, Joe Hoolan said that it is ”unacceptable that the hospital remains fully operational while staffing levels are at such a critical level.
“We need decisive action to avoid putting patients and staff at risk. Our members have grave concerns regarding significant staffing deficits this weekend and next week.
“There is an immense risk to safe patient care while staff struggle to maintain the service in unworkable conditions.
“The INMO are aware all frontline staff are to have immediate surveillance swabs for Covid-19. In view of this, all non-essential services must pause for a minimum of seven days.
Outbreak Control Team
“Patients and staff welfare must be the absolute priority at this time.”
In a statement to the Irish Examiner, Naas General Hospital said that in accordance with HPSC guidelines, “an Outbreak Control Team has been convened and continues to work with Public Health and Occupational Health to manage the response to a Covid-19 outbreak in Naas General Hospital”.
It added: “The outbreak is being managed to ensure hospital services can continue in a safe environment. Covid-19 testing and contact tracing of both staff and patients is undertaken to ensure the protection of public health.
“Any staff identified as close contacts of Covid-19 cases are asked to isolate. Plans have been developed to support continuity of services and guide senior management to identify the level of impact on service and staff and is being monitored on an ongoing basis against the levels of activity into the weekend.
“The protection of public health is of the utmost importance and every effort is taken to reduce the risk of spread of Covid-19.”