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87 staff off work in Naas Hospital due to Covid amid a number of outbreaks

12 patients in the hospital are confirmed to have Covid-19.

File image of Naas General Hospital in Kildare.
File image of Naas General Hospital in Kildare.
Image: Eamonn Farrell

THERE ARE 87 staff members off work at the moment in Naas General Hospital due to positive Covid-19 tests or being a close contact of a confirmed case, amid a number of outbreaks in the hospital. 

The figure means more than 11% of all staff members at the hospital are currently off work. However the situation has been described as being “far more stable” than it was last week. 

The Kildare hospital last week cancelled all non-emergency surgery and outpatient activity for a period of two weeks due to the outbreaks.

A statement issued on behalf of Naas General Hospital yesterday said it is “continuing to respond to pressures arising from a number of Covid-19 outbreaks”. 

“The Hospital Covid Plan is being implemented and progress has made to stabilise the situation,” the statement said.

“As of 16 November there are currently 12 Covid-positive patients in the hospital.  Ongoing work will be required to provide for additional capacity supported by key resources.

As of 16 November there are currently 87 staff not available due to [being] Covid positive or [having] Covid contacts.

This is out of 774 whole-time equivalent (WTE) employees working in the hospital. WTE is a unit used to show a person’s workload in the context of different things. 

It is expected that some staff will return to work later this week after following HSE guidance.  

Joe Hoolan, the industrial relations officer in the Dublin Mid-Leinster Region for the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) told TheJournal.ie that he is in regular contact with the hospital about the outbreaks. 

“The situation is far more stable than it was a week and a half ago,” he said.  

On 6 November, the INMO issued a statement asking Naas Hospital to suspend all non-essential services.

“We were very concerned that the hospital was heading towards a cliff,” Hoolan said.  

He said cancelling these services would help stabilise the staff roster system. 

Hoolan added that the situation is “still not ideal”, but the roster is more stable this week.

As of Monday, he said union members working at the hospital “see there is a plan in place and there is regular communication from management to staff”.

“Everyone knows what they are doing and they feel supported,” he added, but staffing levels still aren’t “where they should be”.  

“By the end of the week, they will hopefully be out of this current crisis,” Hoolan said. 

We’re a little bit more reassured that management are in charge of it and that there is a plan for the staff.

Last Thursday, 77 staff members at Naas Hospital were unavailable for work. 

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HSE CEO Paul Reid said the situation in the hospital was “back to where we were in April in terms of the hospital just dealing with critical and urgent care”. 

Emergency Department

Naas General Hospital said there has been a “noticeable reduction” in attendance to the emergency department over the past week. 

“The message for the public is that please don’t delay to seek medical attention,” a hospital statement said.

A similar drop in emergency department attendance was recorded earlier in the pandemic during periods of strict lockdown.

At the start of April, the Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan urged people with symptoms not related to Covid-19 to not avoid hospitals for fear of contracting the illness. 

Patients of Naas Hospital have been contacted in recent days following the decision to stop elective surgeries and outpatient services.

The hospital said these services will be rescheduled. 

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