The Queen Elizabeth Hospital. (FP)

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital is stepping up its fight in the protection of staff and patients in the fight against COVID-19.

As the number of COVID-19 cases rise island-wide, with more patients presenting to the hospital for care, and with community contact being the principal cause of cases among QEH staff having grown from 10 to 19 in a staffing complement of 2,500, the Queen Elizabeth Hospital is increasing measures to keep staff safe and protect patients.

This assurance was given by Executive Director of the QEH, Juliette Bynoe-Sutherland, to all levels of staff in the hospital in a Weekly Report issued on February 5.  

In the effort to protect staff, the Executive Director informed that the QEH had “established our own Swabbing Centre in the Phlebotomy Department during afternoon and evening hours.  

This forms part of wider measures “in becoming self-sufficient in COVID testing for screening. In addition to receipt of 7,200 COVID rapid antigen tests, we have also acquired a machine for doing confirmatory testing of COVID, for use at the QEH”.

The Executive Director informed staff, “there remain no shortages of PPE at the QEH and the Occupational Health and Safety Officer continues to conduct departmental audits to ensure adequacy of stores.

In addition, the Nursing Office  provides an Emergency PPE Supply Centre 24 hours a day; so that no staff member at any time of the day or night should be without PPE.

Some departments have shown great resilience in the face of exposure. The use of and compliance with PPE has made encounters low risk, with staff  in many areas testing negative after a case has occurred in their department.”

She commended staff for their safety practices, noting “at QEH, Harrison Point, and Blackman Gollop, where COVID-positive patients have been located, there is still no evidence of transfer of COVID from patients to staff.  This underscores the importance of the correct use of PPE by staff to prevent the contraction of COVID-19”.

Speaking to the general guidelines for patient care, the ED noted, “as an essential service we remain open, but we will take all steps to ensure patients who need services are able to access them and to facilitate those who can stay at home, through telemedicine, medication delivery and other clinical services.”

Given the start of operation “Seek and Save”, Mrs. Bynoe-Sutherland reported that the Hospital “has facilitated the opening of Isolation Facilities at Savannah Hotel and Sun Bay Hotel to take spillover of patients or transfers from Blackman Gollop. Savannah has 70 beds and Sun Bay 103 beds. Nurse-leaders with expertise in Infection Control are in clinical leadership and administration of those centres”.

Executive Director Bynoe-Sutherland concluded her report with a reminder to all staff that “the QEH is a community of care and service with multiple stakeholders, from patients to every level of staff. Our goal is to keep everyone safe, promote wellbeing and save lives”.

COVID Communications Unit Barbados

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