Up to 15 A&E staff at West Middlesex Hospital ‘are forced to self isolate after testing positive for Covid following Christmas party’

  • The West Middlesex Hospital staff had a party to celebrate the start of this week
  • Since then, 15 of them have had to be called in sick due to testing positive to Covid-19.
  • Lesley Watts, chief executive, had warned employees not to host any Christmas parties
  • She said earlier in the week, “it is evident” that employees attended Christmas parties together. 
  • According to a source, the hospital may declare it major. 

The hospital’s boss was furious that emergency and accident staff held a Christmas party, which caused many people to get sick from having tested positive for Covid.

Even though Chief Executive Lesley Watts warned them not to, the West Middlesex Hospital in Hounslow’s hardworking nurses and doctors decided to throw a party at the start of the week.

Around 15 revellers were believed to be doctors or nurses who had been tested positive for Covid-19.

Lesley Watts, the Chief Executive, stated in a letter this week that “in spite of me asking you to not do so, many of our staff attended Christmas parties together.”

“One group asked permission to their line manager, and was advised that they should not continue their event.

“Despite being told to cancel, this staff decided to continue and we now know many of them have tested positive for Covid.

“This presents a serious challenge to their coworkers and impacts safe staffing during the holiday period.”

Lesley Watts was the chief executive of West Middlesex Hospital. He had previously warned employees not to host Christmas parties. But, this week, Watts wrote to employees saying, “It is evident that several staff have attended Christmas Parties together, despite me asking you to refrain from doing so.”

Her letter added: ‘This act sadly puts even more pressure onto others who may have to work to cover the shifts for colleagues and it certainly doesn’t speak to our intention to put patients first or support each other.

“I’m asking you again to not attend social events or parties as groups of the same department.

“I remind you to seek the advice of your immediate manager when in doubt.

The outbreak of the virus among the A&E staff is so serious that, according to sources, the hospital is considering declaring it a major incident, due to the number of people having to self isolate.

According to the latest reports, the amount of sick leave has left the department which is located in a busy area of west London with a critical shortage of staff during peak times.

According to an insider familiar with the matter, today’s announcement was made by the department: “The department is now in serious trouble because of the shortage of staff. Each shift requires approximately 20 people.

‘They are on a skeleton staff at the moment and the hospital administrators have offered staff an overtime bonus of £75 for each shift they do over Christmas, which makes it nearly triple pay.

‘However the well staff are not taking it because they have been run ragged already and they don’t want to come in on their only rest day after a week of 12-hour shifts.’

According to reports, the Bosses of the hospital which is located at Heathrow Airport and Twickenham Stadium, may consider removing ten days from their annual leave allocation for accident and emergency personnel in order to punish them for not heeding the “no parties” warning. 

Around 15 members of staff, who are believed to include both doctors and nurses from the A&E department at West Middlesex Hospital (pictured), are understood to have been forced to call in sick after testing positive for Covid-19 (file picture)

Around 15 members of staff, who are believed to include both doctors and nurses from the A&E department at West Middlesex Hospital (pictured), are understood to have been forced to call in sick after testing positive for Covid-19 (file picture)

After the West Middlesex Hospital management tried to explain what they could do privately, it was clear that staff felt discomfort.

The source added: ‘I do understand their frustrations, they have worked so hard and they don’t want to be told what to do in their time off by the management.

“However it is shameful that their actions have led to less protection of the public.

This hospital incident occurs just days after many ambulance workers tested positive for Covid-19 at a Christmas party in Trinity Park, Ipswich. The East of England Ambulance Service was left struggling to fill its shifts.

A source confirmed that there had been at least eight cases following that party, with as much as a third of the area’s staff reportedly off sick due to coronavirus.

MailOnline reached out the Chelsea and Westminster NHS Hospital Trust which runs the West Middlesex Hospital for feedback.