Urgent improvements needed at Weston Hospital after coronavirus failures, says UNISON

Urgent changes are needed to reassure both staff and patients about safety.

The main entrance to Weston General Hospital in Weston Super Mare. Person seen in the background wearing a face mask during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Health managers must take immediate action to sort out communication issues which left staff in the dark about major Covid-19 difficulties at Weston General Hospital in Weston-super-Mare, says UNISON today (Thursday).

The union has written to University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust voicing a number of concerns and calling for an urgent improvement in its handling of coronavirus testing amid the closure of the hospital for new admissions.

The Trust has advised that they will respond to all of the union’s concerns.

UNISON South West regional secretary Joanne Kaye said:

“Urgent changes are needed to reassure both staff and patients about safety.

“The biggest concern is that staff aren’t routinely being informed when their colleagues test positive for the virus.

“This means they’re unable to make informed decisions about whether they need to be tested. The trust must make sure managers tell staff at the earliest possible opportunity.

“Many of those who work at the hospital only heard about the temporary closure through social media, which is a major communications failure. They must be told directly, not pick things up second hand through friends and family.

“UNISON is also concerned to hear that Black members of staff aren’t being prioritised for testing. Given the higher rate of mortality for this group, the Trust must rectify this urgently.”