The Irish Nurses and Midwives Association has called on the Health Service Executive to suspend all services at Naas General Hospital due to a staff shortage connected with a Covid-19 outbreak at the Kildare location.
In a statement this evening, the union said that it has been advised that there are 35 nursing staff and 10 health care assistant staff currently unavailable to frontline rosters due to Covid-19 infections in Naas General Hospital.
In a letter to hospital management this evening, the INMO called on hospital management and the Dublin Midlands Hospital Group to immediately cease all elective/day surgery and outpatient work immediately "to allow for the safe staffing of inpatient rosters".
It also wants the public to be advised only to attend the hospital if absolutely necessary, and for local GPs to refer patients to other locations.
INMO industrial relations officer, Joe Hoolan, said in the statement: “It is unacceptable that the hospital remains fully operational while staffing levels are at such a critical level. We need decisive action to avoid putting patients and staff at risk. Our members have grave concerns regarding significant staffing deficits this weekend and next week. There is an immense risk to safe patient care while staff struggle to maintain the service in unworkable conditions.
“The INMO are aware all frontline staff are to have immediate surveillance swabs for Covid-19. In view of this, all non-essential services must pause for a minimum of seven days. Patients and staff welfare must be the absolute priority at this time”.
According to figures today, up to 8pm on Thursday evening, there were 32 patients infected with the virus at Naas General Hospital. This up one on the previous day. It has six suspected cases. None of the confirmed or suspected cases is in ICU.
The hospital has been the site of an outbreak among staff in recent weeks connected to a patient who was transferred from Dublin.
The HSE has been contacted for comment.