NHS Western Isles have hit back at social media comments that staff are partly responsible for the virus spreading
There has now been 29 confirmed cases in the Western Isles Hospital outbreak according to official figures.
In addition there are 50 cases associated with the Barra outbreak, five recorded on a second cluster in Benbecula and a substantial number of people have been asked to self isolate via the Test & Protect system.
The cases at the hospital are a combination of both staff and patients. The families of affected patients have been contacted and NHS management have asked that families do not contact the hospital for further details related to this outbreak as it is extremely busy and staff are unable to provide further details of those affected.
However, NHS bosses have taken umbrage at comments which have appeared on social media platforms recently, apparently blaming staff and the health board for allowing the spread of the most recent local cluster in the Western Isles Hospital.
The health board has now strongly and vehemently rejected any speculation that locum or agency staff were linked to the rise in cases.
A spokesman said: “it was a difficult, stressful and worrying time” for staff.
“To blame anyone, or point fingers at this time, is unhelpful. In particular to blame healthcare staff or the NHS for a move to Level Four is unjustified. We are proud of our staff, many of whom have been working tirelessly and selflessly throughout this pandemic to prepare, plan, train and put themselves in the frontline, without a second thought, to care for any and every individual that needs our services, regardless of personal risk.
“We are clear that the source of the outbreak was not locum or agency staff. Locum and agency NHS staff are tested for Covid-19 before taking up a work placement with us.”
Services in hospital are currently running as normal but are being kept under constant review.
Visiting is currently restricted to essential visits only as a result of the outbreak.
Book a test if symptoms develop, regardless of how mild. Please do not assume that they are only a cold or winter virus – any symptoms common to COVID-19 should be tested to ensure that the virus is not inadvertently spread through communities.
Of particular importance is that you must not meet anyone who is not in your household indoors. The exception to this is if you are required to provide care and support for a vulnerable person.
In addition, you must not travel into or out of the area unless your travel is absolutely essential. Even if classed as ‘essential’ under current rules, you are still urged to carefully assess if travel can be safely avoided or delayed.
It is imperative that each member of the community takes personal responsibility to help protect the wider community, friends, family, and colleagues as well as safeguarding and protecting the local health and social care services.
If you are experiencing any symptoms, you and your household should immediately self isolate and book a test. You should not attend your workplace and children in the household should not attend school/nursery. To access Western Isles testing service, contact the Covid-19 Response Team via telephone on: 01851 601151 or email: [email protected]