Hospital staff ‘terrified’ of contracting E.coli

Craigavon Area Hospital. INLM02-110gc
Craigavon Area Hospital. INLM02-110gc

A member of the domestic staff at Craigavon Area Hospital says she and others are “terrified” of contracting E.coli, after being asked to clean the kitchen where it was found.

The Southern Health and Social Care Trust confirmed yesterday (Thursday) that the bacteria had been detected in the main public canteen.

The domestic assistant, who contacted the Portadown Times, said she and other staff were alerted to the situation on Tuesday, when they were called in to a meeting.

She said all domestic staff had been asked to hand in their uniforms for swab tests and were also asked to submit a stool sample.

She criticised the hospital for the lack of information they had received since then and also expressed concern that she and other staff had been asked to go in and clean the kitchen.

“The staff are not happy. We are terrified that we are going to catch it,” she said.

However, a trust spokesperson said any cleaning is conducted under stringent environmental health guidelines and that staff are issued with all the necessary protective clothing.

Meanwhile, the canteen remains open and hot food is continuing to be served - as the bacteria cannot exist in it - but the salad and sandwich bars have been closed until all tests have been completed.

The E.coli 0157 was detected during routine sampling by the trust in the main kitchen.

The spokesman added, “To date, no patients, staff or members of the public have shown symptoms of being affected by this bacteria. We currently have stringent food safety measures in place and are liaising with all relevant agencies at this time.

“We apologise for any inconvenience caused to patients, visitors and staff but must ensure the safety of all of those who use our services.”