Western Trust staff being facing abuse and harassment over COVID visitor restrictions

The Western Trust has warned that its staff are being subjected to verbal abuse and harassment by some people over COVID-related visitor restrictions.

Thursday, 11th March 2021, 10:52 am

The Trust warned that there was a zero tolerance policy in place as it said some members of the public are continuing to harass heath care workers.

Sister Olive Devlin, Western Trust Outpatients Manager, said: “We are dealing with the demands of our services relating to COVID-19 and recently we have experienced an increase in verbal harassment and abuse towards staff.

“We are calling on the public for their understanding, patience and respect. Current COVID-219 restrictions in our hospitals and care settings have been put in place to protect the safety of our patients and our staff who are caring for them.

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“We realise that the restrictions are hard for patients, relatives and families and can be frustrating. Our ask is that you support us to care for our patients and please refrain from any form of verbal abuse, harassment or aggression.

“We are in this together so please be kind, tolerant in your dealings with us. Please care for us as we care for you or your loved one.”

Under current NI guidelines only one family member or carer is to be permitted access to visit in hospital.

Where the person visiting requires assistance and is accompanied by a carer and this can be accommodated within social distancing guidance then a second person may be admitted, but prior arrangement with ward staff is essential).

A Trust spokesperson said: “We wish to remind the public that all measures being implemented are to protect patients and staff in these challenging times and everyone who visits our facilities should be respectful of all our staff who dedicate themselves to caring for others and saving lives.

“Please remember there is a zero tolerance policy in place across all Trust facilities, with respect to verbal and physical abuse towards any member of staff.”