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Not wearing a mask a ‘serious conduct issue’, CEO warns staff

PUBLISHED

A London acute trust has told its staff they may not be paid for time at home self-isolating if it transpires they were not wearing a mask near someone with coronavirus.

Staff at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital Foundation Trust were told that if they have to stay at home self-isolating because they were not wearing a mask, that time would have to be taken as annual or unpaid leave.

Chief executive Lesley Watts told all staff in an email today, seen by HSJ, that a worker had tested positive for COVID-19, and that four staff members had spent more than 15 minutes with them “without appropriate [personal protective equipment]” and must all now isolate themselves at home for 14 days.

The trust considers it “a serious conduct issue not to wear a mask where you are putting colleagues or our patients at risk – this will be dealt with under our formal processes going forward”, Ms Watts said in the email.

“If you are sent home to isolate for two weeks because you have not worn a mask, I am now informing you that you will be required to take this as annual or unpaid leave. The four staff members “would not be having to go home to isolate if the use of face masks and social distancing had been in place appropriately”.

A Chelsea and Wesminster Hospital spokesman told HSJ: “The guidance around PPE has changed a number of times over the course of the pandemic and we felt it was important to be clear on the trust’s position and to reiterate how seriously we take staff and patient safety."

Read full story (paywalled)

Source: HSJ, 28 August 2020

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