Nearly 600 NHS staff off work after Covid outbreak at hospital trust

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Almost 600 staff at a UK hospital are off work due to coronavirus.

Royal Stoke and Stafford's County Hospitals have 583 members of staff not working due to a Covid outbreak.

The trust employs around 11,500 people and is urging workers to take care of themselves and each other to try to prevent the spread of the virus.

The Guardian reports that six members of staff were sent home after falling ill with the virus for breaching government rules by not wearing a mask when sharing lifts to and from work.

They were informed not to travel into work by the University Hospitals of North Midlands Trust.

Staff at the trust were told about the incident in an email last week from its medical director Dr John Oxtoby.

The trust has refused to say what six staff's roles are or which hospitals they work.

Asked about their behaviour Oxtoby said: “We all obviously have a responsibility to observe national guidance and our staff are regularly kept up to date with the latest advice as it becomes available.

“Wearing a face mask and eye protection alongside hand washing and social distancing are all important measures of reducing the spread of Covid-19 in our hospitals and to keep our patients and communities safe.”

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In his email to staff on October 28, Oxtoby reportedly said: “It is essential that all staff who are car sharing wear a mask for the full journey to and from work.

“This week we had to send six members of staff home as they did not wear masks and have now developed Covid-19 symptoms.”

He also reminded staff to always wear a visor in clinical areas where doing so is advised, even if a patient has tested negative.

The trust refused to say if any staff had recently flouted that rule.

Lindsay Meeks, the Royal College of Nursing’s West Midlands regional director, said: “While there’s no suggestion this incident involves any of our members, we would urge all nursing staff to adhere to the Covid-19 restrictions in place in their area, and to any guidelines put in place by their employer. This will not only help keep them safe, but will also help reduce the risk to their colleagues and their patients."

  • NHS
  • Coronavirus

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