Staff at Cork University Hospital (CUH) have been warned not to wear their scrubs in supermarkets due to a rising number of complaints from members of the public.
The warning is contained in an internal email to staff from the hospital’s infection prevention and control committee that warns about cross-contamination.
Staff have also been asked to desist from visiting relatives and loved ones who are inpatients at CUH, as it is in breach of the Covid-19 no-visitor policy.
Ger O’Callaghan, the hospital’s interim chief executive, says in an email that staff have been seen visiting loved ones.
The committee’s email warns that as uniforms and scrubs are exposed to “microbiological contamination” in a clinical environment, staff should not come to work in uniforms or scrubs and should “not go out shopping during the day in your uniforms or scrubs”.
The committee also asks that staff do not leave for home in their uniform or scrubs “without first changing into outdoor attire”.
“We are asking you to adhere to the above in the interest of preventing such transmission to your friends and families,” states the email.
It advises staff that Tesco is offering “a dedicated click-and-collect service for CUH staff” and that this should be utilised “where possible”.
The warning was prompted by an “increasing number of complaints the hospital is receiving from members of the public with regard to staff wearing their uniforms outside of campus and in supermarkets”.
When asked about the warning, a spokesperson for the hospital said: “CUH staff are routinely practiced in the safe and proper use of PPE [personal protective equipment] and other medical attire, this includes knowledge re the appropriate wearing of same.”
Separately, Mr O’Callaghan has sent an email to staff asking them to adhere to its no-visitor policy after staff members were “observed and noted... coming into the hospital at evenings and weekends to visit relatives and loved ones who are currently inpatients”.
Mr O’Callaghan warned: “Please be advised that the no-visitor policy applies to everyone including staff and under no circumstances are CUH staff permitted to visit locations other than their own work location during this pandemic.”
He said that while such visits “may be well-intentioned”, he is asking staff to “co-operate with this no-visitor policy in an effort to ensure no inadvertent spread of community-acquired Covid-19 virus occurs into CUH.”
The Irish Examiner reported earlier this week that, as of last weekend, just 33 members of the 4,000-strong workforce at CUH had tested positive for Covid-19.
- Shop for essential food and household goods;
- Attend medical appointments, collect medicine or other health products;
- Care for children, older people or other vulnerable people - this excludes social family visits;
- Exercise outdoors - within 2kms of your home and only with members of your own household, keeping 2 metres distance between you and other people
- Travel to work if you provide an essential service - be sure to practice social distancing