West Mid A&E Faces Staffing Crisis Due to Christmas Party

Up to 15 reportedly self-isolating after catching Covid-19

Entrance to West Middlesex Hospital. Picture: CW+ Charity

West Middlesex Hospital may need to declare a major incident after a significant number of staff tested positive for Covid-19 after attending a Christmas party.

A strongly worded letter sent to staff by Lesley Watts, the Chief Executive of the Chelsea and Westminster NHS Hospital Trust which runs the West Mid, condemns the staff for attending events after an explicit warning was given not to do so.

According to report in the Daily Mail, up to 15 members of the Accident and Emergency team including doctors and nurses tested positive after attending the party earlier this week.

The letter states, 'In the last few days, it is clear that a number of staff have attended Christmas parties together, despite my ask of you not to do so.

'One group in particular sought permission from their line manager and were advised not to continue with their event.

'Despite being advised to cancel, we know that this group of staff chose to go ahead and many have now tested positive (for Covid).

'This is causing a significant challenge for their colleagues and impacting safe staffing over the holiday period.'

It is believed that the group referred to was from the West Mid.

The Daily Mail quotes a source at the hospital who they say has told it that the outbreak is so serious that the hospital is considering declaring a major incident due to staff shortages in the A&E department. Around 20 people are needed to staff each shift and triple pay is being offered to those willing to do overtime to cover for absent colleagues. However, the source claims that take up has been low because staff are already exhausted after a prolonged period of 12 hour shifts.

Reportedly the Trust is considering reducing the annual leave allocation of staff who are not working having caught the virus at the Christmas party.

When asked for a statement the Trust's spokesperson said that some of the Daily Mail article was inaccurate but that it would not be commenting further.

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December 23, 2021