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Coronavirus / Self-isolation causes staff shortages in hospital – but no impact on patient care

Lerwick's Gilbert Bain Hospital. Photo: Shetland News

NHS Shetland said it is experiencing some staff shortages in the Gilbert Bain Hospital as a result of self-isolation requirements.

More than 100 cases of Covid have been confirmed in Shetland in July alone, with three reported yesterday (Tuesday).

Director of nursing and acute services Kathleen Carolan said: “We would like to assure the public that there is currently no impact on patient care. We also have no reason to believe there has been an increased risk to patients in the hospital because all controls to minimise transmission have been followed.

“We will keep under review whether this will impact on our ability to deliver any of our services over the next 10 days and advise patients accordingly.

“There are now a small number of organisations, including health and care services, that the Scottish Government will allow to consider exempting some staff who have been identified as contacts from having to isolate so that they can attend work.

“This is subject to very strict criteria and is only to be used where services cannot function because of the number of workers who are isolating.

“We have reviewed whether some of our affected staff, provided they meet the conditions required, are able to return to work. This is necessary to allow critical services to continue to be delivered.

“Clearly as a health organisation we are in a strong position to support staff in this regard, with excellent access to testing and well established and observed infection control measures in place.”

Earlier this week Brae Health Centre said it was running a slightly reduced service as a self-isolating clinician was unable to travel to Shetland.

Shetland Islands Council chief executive Maggie Sandison said last week that self-isolation was also impacting some services at the local authority.

NHS Shetland said the usual public health messages remain: everyone is asked to adhere to good respiratory and hand hygiene, avoid crowded places and follow the current Scottish Government guidance.

Anyone with Covid symptoms should immediately self-isolate with their household and request a PCR test.

If the result is positive then the individual and identified contacts have to isolate as per the instructions from the contact tracing team, usually for 10 days.