Friday, August 14, 2020

Covid-19 outbreaks occurred at three Mayo District Hospitals with 75% of nurses absent due to illness or close contacts at the peak of the outbreak.

The findings were part of a report commissioned by then Minister for Health Simon Harris into Covid-19 response measures at hospitals in Mayo, including District Hospitals in Ballina, Belmullet, and Swinford. It also states that the physical infrastructure of Ballina and Belmullet District Hospitals is ‘substandard’.

The report which was given to Minister Harris in June has been revealed following an FOI requestion from Aontú representative for Mayo, Paul Lawless.

It states that individual Covid-19 Response Teams were established for each hospital as the outbreaks occurred.

It outlines that despite a significant number of staff being absent (including 75% of nurses at the peak of the pandemic), the remaining staff and staff redeployment ensured core cover was provided.

The report said the physical infrastructure in Ballina and Belmullet District Hospitals is substandard in terms of multiple occupancy rooms, layout space, limited single rooms, lack of cleanable finishes, availability, and location of sanitary accommodation works.

Feasibility studies have been completed for works at both hospitals but upgrades/replacement are not in the HSE’s Capital Plan.

The report remarks that the level of Covid-19 infection in the community in Mayo was above the national average.

While there was asymptomatic Covid-19 positive staff in Swinford District Hospital there was no transmission to patients due to the observance of good infection control practice and the wearing of PPE. The report adds that the outbreaks in Ballina and Belmullet District Hospitals occurred before the HSE was successful in securing adequate levels of PPE during the international crisis and PPE was prioritised for acute hospitals and GPs.

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