Nurses who were not wearing masks or who were two meters away led to a burst of Covid-19 which shut down an emergency room unit after 70 hospital employees had to go into quarantine.
An investigation by Hillingdon Hospital in north-west London found that a nurse who had unintentionally infected the coronavirus with 16 others during a training session they all attended on June 30, in what it has been described by a doctor as a “super-popular event”.
The hospital, which serves Boris Johnson’s constituency, made headlines last week when it stopped accepting emergency admissions because the epidemic took 70 employees out of work and isolated.
The training session has now been identified as the source of the unusually large number of staff who later became ill or had to stay out of work because they were in close contact with infected people.
Hospital sources say that not all those who participated wore a mask or stayed two meters away, and that the social distance had significantly decreased during the lunch break.
Hospital staff are baffled by why the training session was allowed to continue, as most of the NHS medical training is now done online to avoid gathering people.
One consultant said that holding the training session as a physical event was “disastrous”. Ambulances were still hijacked from Hillingdon to other nearby hospitals over a week after the policy was introduced on July 7th.
The senior doctor himself said: “This training session has become a popular event. The sanction of such a large gathering of healthcare workers inside seems extremely unwise and out of the ordinary with the way the hospital managed all sorts of meetings during Covid.
“Most of the meetings have been avoided since the end of March or transferred online or kept to a minimum number of people with adequate space.”
The ongoing investigation is being undertaken by senior executives of the trust together with officials from Public Health England (PHE), the public health team of the Hillingdon council and NHS England. They identified the key role of the training session in spreading the virus.
The nurse who transmitted the infection is thought to have contracted Covid-19 from a patient – a man who had recently returned from abroad – who was being treated for the disease in the hospital’s acute medical unit.
The nurse became increasingly ill during the training session and ended up being taken to the hospital emergency room. There is no suggestion that he has acted inappropriately.
The other 16 that he infected mainly worked alongside him in that unit or the hospital A&E.
Three nurses who attended the event – held in a reading room in the Hillingdon educational center – needed hospital treatment due to the infection.
The Guardian revealed last week that Sarah Tedford, the CEO of the trust, had emailed staff on July 3 accusing the lack of wearing a mask and the lack of social distance from some of them for the outbreak. . It is not clear if he specifically referred to the training session, which was held four days earlier.
A health official with knowledge of the survey results said: “Social distancing is very important in this pandemic, so it is worrying to find that this has not been done by a national health fund. At the moment they should not violate any rule of social expulsion.
“These things [training sessions] it shouldn’t happen with the current social distance and I’m sure that confidence will learn lessons from this. These situations can be avoided. “
According to hospital policy, all staff members should wear a mask while at work to reduce the risk of infection.
Trust refused to answer a series of detailed questions about the training session, including why it continued.
In a statement, it states: “An investigation is underway on the Covid-19 epidemic at Hillingdon hospital. Our priority is to maintain safe and high-quality care and trust is taking appropriate measures to reduce transmission. in line with the Public Health England guide. “