August 12, 2020
Hospital staff concerned by lack of regular testing – Réada Cronin TD

Sinn Féin TD for Kildare North Réada Cronin has today written to the Minister for Health highlighting serious concerns from Naas General Hospital staff.

Teachta Cronin said:

“I have spoken personally to a number of staff members from Naas General Hospital who have raised deeply troubling concerns that they simply aren’t getting enough Government support and resources. 

“They have urgent concerns about testing, the use of PPE, free parking and safe transport to and from the hospital. I have written to the Minister for Health outlining these serious concerns and asking him to act immediately.

“I also urged him to press the Government to be proactive, not reactive, when it comes to suppressing the Covid-19 virus. This should include Covid-19 testing at the hospital beginning immediately and continuing on an ongoing basis in order to diagnose potentially asymptomatic cases before they transmit.

“There is evidence of significant levels of asymptomatic infection in other countries. We would be foolish to conclude that could not occur here. Therefore, wide and regular testing in the hospital is absolutely essential to limit the spread of this virus and keep our communities safe. 

“Regarding PPE, staff voiced concern at a certain cultural view of it being ‘wasted’ as opposed to used. It is their view – and my own – that in a situation of containment of a dangerous virus, PPE is never ‘wasted’ but must be used in every area of activity in the hospital, with every staff member, regardless of their work, masked at the very least.

“Clearly, staff are anxious that their free parking should continue. This, and a shuttle-bus to and from the facility, would prevent community contact and the risk of contracting or transmitting the virus as staff travel to work. I have asked the Minister to look at this urgently.

“Our health service is hanging by a thread as it is. We have too few beds, too few nurses, too few doctors; many of them wrongly paid. Over the course of this pandemic, we have seen hospital staff working extremely hard and diligently to keep us all safe, despite the risk this has posed to them.

“The very least we can do is to listen to their serious concerns and support them by ensuring they have the resources they need. This includes listening to their calls to be tested – and regularly – for Covid-19, particularly as we could be facing into a very challenging Autumn and Winter.”

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