Hospital boss blames staff for COVID-19 outbreak

Allegedly staff were ‘not wearing appropriate masks” and “not adhering to social distancing”.

Ian Snug
10 July 2020
Hillingdon hospital

The hospital was forced to close its emergency department and divert admissions.

The chief executive of a London hospital has blamed staff for a COVID-19 outbreak leading to the closure of services.


Hillingdon hospital, located in north-west London and part of Prime Minister Boris Johnsons constituency, was forced to close its emergency department and refuse any new admissions after a COVID-19 outbreak led to 70 staff having to self-isolate.

First published by the Guardian, a letter sent to hospital staff last Friday by chief executive Sarah Tedford appears to blame staff for not adhering to social distancing rules.

In April the same trust came under fire for not permitting a healthcare assistant to wear a surgical mask while providing patient care despite a patient reportedly coughing into her unprotected face while taking blood.

The same healthcare assistant later resigned over a lack of protection.


Only last month Public Health England (PHE) changed its advice recommending that surgical face masks be worn by healthcare works at all times while on hospital grounds. 

A serious matter.

The strongly-worded letter read; “All the way through this [pandemic] we have followed national guidance and it has kept us safe. So what is happening now? I am told some of you are not wearing appropriate masks and you are not adhering to social distancing. This has resulted in an outbreak on a ward where our staff have contracted Covid-19.

It goes on; “If you do not follow the guidance, we cannot keep you safe. I don’t like wearing a mask, but it would be irresponsible of me not to do so. Please think very carefully about what you are doing and ask yourselves if you are keeping yourself safe and if you are keeping each other safe. This is no time to be complacent: we are not out of the woods yet.”

“Can I please remind you to take responsibility for yourself and your team and help us all beat Covid-19? The lockdown is being lifted. Please ensure we play our part in not spreading Covid-19 and leading by example.”


“This is such a serious matter, and at the moment I’m afraid some of us are not demonstrating the behaviour we should be. If you see someone not adhering to the guidance, please remind them of their responsibilities. We all need a little nudge at times.”

A spokesperson for Hillingdon hospital later said; “The vast majority of our staff are maintaining social distancing and it is essential that everyone follows the guidance if we are to provide the safest care to our patients.”

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