Monday, August 10, 2020

Documents claim staff members in Mayo University Hospital felt ‘disillusioned, embarrassed and frustrated’ by working conditions during the Covid-19 outbreak

Aontú representative for Mayo, Paul Lawless had a number of documents released to him under the Freedom of Information Act (FOI) which reveal that staff in the Castlebar hospital reaching out to public representatives with their concerns regarding staff and Covid-19 patient crossover in the hospital.

Cllr Michael Kilcoyne informed the Saolta Hospital Group of the concerns of Mayo University Hospital staff.

In one email in early May, Independent Mayo county councillor Michael Kilcoyne outlined to CEO of the Saolta Hospital Group the concerns of staff. He details to the hospital group boss an email from a staff member who said that Ward C, Ward D, and the Ortho Ward were “all looking after positive, negative and query patients, there is crossover between staff and this is going on all week”.

These, the email said, “include oncology patients”, adding that staff were disillusioned, embarrassed and frustrated at how the whole thing was being run.

The staff member also makes reference to “the shambolic way hospital management have dealt with the crisis from the start and the impact it has had on patients, staff and their families” and tells of how staff were, at the time of the email being sent, planning “a lunchtime protest next week”.

Another email was forwarded from Mr Kilcoyne to the CEO of Saolta, Tony Canavan on May 1, signed by “a very concerned nurse”. This nurse spoke of how the structural changes to the hospital had resulted in “a unit no longer fit for purpose”. The nurse said “the reduced space makes Covid ED no longer a safe working environment. It is no longer possible to keep patients at a safe distance from each other. Patients and staff safety is severely compromised”.

The nurse went on to note a “huge lack of handwashing facilities”, adding that “we no longer have staff changing rooms and no access to showering facilities, no longer access to staff toilets and are to use the toilet facilities for the general public”.

In response to an email from Mr Kilcoyne, Mr Canavan said on May 12 this year, said that while there were challenges and ‘issues’, he was ‘satisfied that the management approach overall is appropriate’.

Mr Lawless said the documents make for ‘shocking reading’.

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