Dublin hospital staff verbally abused and spat on in anger over visitor restrictions

Dublin hospital staff verbally abused and spat on in anger over visitor restrictions

STAFF IN Dublin's Rotunda Hospital have been subjected to verbal abuse and even spat on by people who are angered by the strict visitation restrictions in place to protect patients, staff and the wider community.

The Rotunda, which is Ireland's busiest maternity hospital, have implemented visitation restrictions in accordance with Government guidelines, as have all hospitals across the country.

Currently, the Rotunda are not allowing any of the public into the hospital, have cancelled elective appointments and have heavily restricted visitors "to protect our mothers, babies, staff and the public".

While most of the population agree that new measures-- such as the closure of pubs and banning of mass gatherings-- are essential, a small minority are taking their frustration out on staff.

Professor Fergal Malone, who is the Master of the Rotunda Hospital, appeared on RTÉ Liveline yesterday where he said that security staff had been verbally abused and one person was even spat at by a furious member of the public.

Professor Malone acknowledged that the restrictions-- which include only the mother being allowed in for ultrasounds and just one named person allowed to be present for births-- were frustrating, but appealed to the public to "work with us" to keep everyone safe.

Speaking on the radio show, Professor Malone said:

"We know it’s terrible to be denied entry, that you want to be there to see the scan. You want to be here for an appointment and we understand that.

"But we’re the busiest maternity house in the country, we’re the oldest maternity hospital in Europe.

"Space is not there for one to two metres social distancing, we just don’t have that luxury."

So far, no staff or patients at the Rotunda have tested positive for the virus, and Professor Malone said that it was very important that these guidelines are followed in order to keep Covid-19 away from the hospital "for as long as humanly possible".

557 people in Ireland have tested positive for the virus at the time of writing, and three people have died.