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17/10/2021

As preparations continue for expected surge in Covid-19 hospital admissions, the Western Trust reveals that 1,300 staff are currently off on sick leave or are self-isolating

Renewed appeal for people from a health or social care background to help out over the coming weeks

Donegal’s student nurses must be paid for their work - TD

Many Western Trust staff are off due to self-isolating or sickness.

Around 1,300 staff within the Western Trust are currently off because they are either self-isolating or are sick, it was revealed today.

Management at the Trust said this was double the normal rate of staff absences at this time.

It comes as the local health service prepares for an expected surge in Covid-19 hospital admissions in the coming weeks.

The rate of positive of Covid-19 cases in the Derry City and Strabane District Council area has been falling in recent days.

This followed a sharp increase in cases in the post-Christmas period after the relaxation of social distancing guidelines.

However, given the lag between people catching the virus and the need for hospital treatment, the number of hospital admissions is expected to rise significantly in the next couple of weeks.

Speaking at a media briefing today, Neil Guckian, Director of Finance and Contracting at the Western Trust, said they expect the number of Covid-19 patients at the Trust's two hospitals at Altnagelvin Hospital and the South West Acute Hospital in Enniskillen to 'double' from next week.

Mr Guckian said that, at present, one in four patients at the two hospitals have the Covid-19 virus.

He said that during the first Covid-19 wave last year, there had been a total of 140 Covid-related admissions to the two hospitals.

However, he added that since then, there had been a further 706 hospital admissions involving people with the virus.

In relation to staff absences, Mr Guckian appealed to anyone with a background in health or social care who would like to help deal with the expected surge in the coming weeks to get in touch with the Trust.

He added that the general public also had a key role to play in how the local health service copes in the next few weeks by adhering to advice to stay at home and limit their contacts.

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