Positive Tests For Covis-19 at Daisy Hill Hospital Are Conerning Says Justin McNulty MLA.
NI Assembly Member for Newry and Armagh Justin McNulty MLA (SDLP) has expressed alarm at reports that medical staff at Daisy Hill Hospital have tested positive for Covid-19 writes Kevin McAteer.
Mr McNulty explained, “I have been contacted by staff within Daisy Hill Hospital and advised that two members of a medical team within a ward had tested positive for Covid-19.
“This is a hugely worrying development for staff, patients and families and comes hot on the heels of three separate outbreaks in Craigavon Area Hospital.
“On top of the graveness of a potential outbreak in Daisy Hill Hospital, there are also very concerning questions to be asked about how this has been handled.
“Whilst the staff members who tested positive are now off work and self-isolating, there are some members of staff on the same ward and indeed patients and their families who have not been advised of this development.
“I understand that no extra cleaning of the ward or wards concerned has taken place. When staff raised concerns, I am told they were advised that they were ok because they were wearing PPE.
“This is a worrying situation. I have spoken with the Chief Executive of the Southern Trust and he has set out the process the Trust has followed.
“I was advised that staff, patients or the public do not need to be informed or traced where they came into contact with the staff members who tested positive if the staff member was suited out in PPE at the time.
“This is concerning and I believe it could add to the anxiety and confusion in our community.
“I would have thought it would have been prudent and reassuring to test all staff and patients who the staff members came into contact with whether they were wearing PPE or not.
“Daisy Hill has been largely Covid free throughout this pandemic. In fact, we were told the rationale behind the temporary closure of the hospital’s Emergency Department was to ensure the hospital remained Covid free.
“Now, just as we are approaching the planned reopening of the Emergency Department later in the month, this happens. This cannot be allowed to be an excuse not to proceed with reopening Daisy Hill’s ED!”
Mr McNulty added: “It has since been announced that visiting relatives in Daisy Hill has now been suspended. I know that some staff feel let down and they are scared.
“We all rightly applauded their efforts on Thursday evenings for weeks and told them what an incredibly important job they were doing.
“But now that there is a potential outbreak within their workplace, many of them and their patients have not been informed about the grave situation in their own ward.
“I have raised these concerns with the Chief Executive of the Southern Trust and have also written to the Health Minister.
” In the first instance, I believe we need to take whatever steps necessary to identity and test all the staff and patients who may have been exposed.
“Secondly, I firmly believe the handling of this potential outbreak should now also be subject to an investigation.
“This severity of this situation cannot be left unchecked or unaddressed.”