Staff at Blackpool Victoria Hospital have been seen ignoring PPE stations and arriving and leaving in their scrubs
Staff at a Lancashire hospital have been given a stern warning after almost 40 employees were seen breaching Covid safety measures in just half an hour.
A recent spot check carried out at Blackpool Victoria Hospital found that ‘some colleagues are not adhering to guidance’ when it comes to preventing the transmission of Covid-19.
During a 15-minute period, 25 members of staff entering the hospital via its main entrance ‘ignored the safety team’s instructions and/or walked straight past the PPE station’.
During one half-hour period, 14 clinicians either arrived in scrubs or were seen leaving the hospital in them.
These included full navy scrubs, full maroon scrubs, light blue and/or navy scrub top with jeans/chinos and green scrubs.
The findings were sent to all staff on Tuesday (August 31) in a warning to make sure everyone adhered to Covid-safe policy, as seen by LancsLive.
Exactly when the spot check took place is not known.
Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust policy is for staff to ‘only wear uniform within the hospital and its campus, unless they are undertaking a clinical visit in the community setting’. This is as long as changing rooms are available on site.
The policy also states when changing facilities are provided, ‘staff must not go home in uniform’.
If staff do not have a ward / departmental level changing facility, they may travel directly to and from work only in uniform, it adds. In these instances, the uniform must be suitably covered by external clothing to ‘preserve the professional image of the Trust’.
Policy also states that ‘Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) must be worn appropriately when required and will be provided by the department.
Clinical uniforms is also to be washed at 60 degrees Celsius to kill most micro-organisms and reduce the transmission of Covid.
One hospital staff member, who didn’t want to be named, told LancsLive: “Staff were informed at the start of Covid regarding the uniforms being seen because people would be thinking what are you doing in your uniform outside.
“There was a staff email sent around saying if you don’t have facilities to wash your uniform on the ward you should use a bag.
“The instructions were to wash your uniform at least at 60 degrees for minimum of 10 minutes.
“When visitors aren’t allowed to visit patients because of Covid, and you have staff coming in at such a short time – half an hour or 15 minutes – ignoring them when the security guards are on the door telling staff what to do.
“They are blatantly ignoring them in full view of patients waiting for patient transport.”
The whistle-blower added that it was “not hygienic” and “very worrying” that staff were ignoring the rules.
“If they’ve gone home in their scrubs, where there could be vulnerable people, and then come back it’s quite strange. It’s not hygienic. It’s very worrying.”
Across the UK since the outbreak of the pandemic there have been 155,465 deaths where Covid is recorded on the death certificate – a rate of 231 per 100,000 people.
In Blackpool, a total of 478 deaths occurred where Covid is recorded on the death certificate – a rate of 339 per 100,000 people which is well above the national average.
All staff at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, of which there are around 7,000, have now been reminded of the infection prevention and control measures.
Dr Jim Gardner, Medical Director at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, told LancsLive: “Throughout the pandemic our colleagues and visitors have all done a fantastic job supporting the important infection prevention and control measures we’ve had in place at our hospitals to help keep everyone safe.
“We repeatedly take steps to make sure everyone is aware of what is expected of them and recently issued a reminder to all trust colleagues of their responsibilities, including making sure they are gelling their hands as they enter and leave our sites, washing hands regularly, socially distancing, wearing masks and following the correct uniform procedures.”