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Hundreds of hospital staff off work as pressure mounts

A TOTAL of 115 staff at SWAH  are off work at the moment, many as a result of the Covid pandemic.
According to Geraldine McKay, Head of Acute Services for the Western Trust, there are currently  “115 staff not available at SWAH” due to a significant rise in community contact with regards to Covid-19.
Speaking at a Trust briefing on Monday morning, Ms McKay warned, “Hospitals right across the Trust are already right in the middle of a surge at this moment in time, with SWAH currently on an amber alert.”
As health professionals continue to struggle over the combined influx of Covid and other non-Covid patients in the coming weeks, concerns have grown as to how the unavailability of staff at SWAH will impact the way vital services cope under further winter pressures.
“Staff availability will make things become increasingly difficult and we can’t continue to properly do that in the longer term,” warned Ms McKay.
Elsewhere in the Trust, a total number of 345 staff have been ruled out as “not available” to work across all professional groupings at Altnagelvin.
Speaking on the increasing number of staff not permitted to work due to restrictions, Ms McKay revealed, “About one third of staff that are not available at this moment is due to community contact.
“It’s not only hospital impact that is causing our staff to self-isolate, but it is the very high transmission rate in our communities that is having a greater impact on our staff.
“A lot of our workforce live in areas such as Derry and Fermanagh, so the impact of community transmission is also causing our staff to be self-isolating and will continue to do so among other reasons in the coming months.”
Speaking on the greater impact that Covid will have in relation to short staffing levels, Brian  McFetridge, Assistant Director of Acute Services added, “Our biggest resource in this Trust is our staff, and the number of staff that we have off is because staff members were in contact with a friend or a family member whose positive within the community.
“This obviously has a knock-on-effect on how we can deliver our services so I think it is a reflection of the many challenges that we face.”

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The Fermanagh Herald is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
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