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Hospital group warns of spread of Covid-19 disinformation citing ‘graver concerns’ about its impact on staff and patients

A hospital group has warned against the spreading of disinformation in its healthcare facilities after two alleged incidents involving Covid-19 deniers.

he Saolta University Health Care Group said it has “grave concerns” about the impact of the spreading of disinformation on staff and patients.

The announcement has come after earlier this week, a video was posted online allegedly showing a Covid-19 patient being encouraged to leave hospital.

A staff member was videoed appealing for the man to stay in hospital.

The hospital group wrote that it was “aware of two incidents where groups have spread disinformation” at its hospital sites.

“Patient safety and care is of paramount importance to the group,” it added.

“Hospitals across the region are under extreme pressure as a result of the record levels of attendances of both Covid-19 and non Covid-19 patients.

“The deliberate spreading of disinformation and at times defamatory comments against named staff members along with the posting of these videos on social media platforms is adding significantly to the burden already facing healthcare professionals.”

It added that incidents of this nature are “highly disruptive and upsetting in clinical settings.”

The hospital added that it could not comment on individual cases and would maintain patient confidentiality.

It said all visits to in-patients had to be “pre-arranged and facilitated at the request of the patient.”

“People coming to the hospital must continue to follow all the public health guidance, including wearing a face mask and using hand gel regularly.

“If any member of the public fails to follow these guidelines… they are asked to leave the hospital… Members of the security team are involved in any incident which escalates and An Garda Síochána are involved where appropriate.”

The hospital group advised “people get their information from reputable sources and follow the public health advices that is available on hse.ie and gov.ie”

And it tweeted a link to HSE advice on fake news.

The hospital group is responsible for Letterkenny University Hospital, Mayo University Hospital, Merlin Park University Hospital, Portiuncula University Hospital, Roscommon University Hospital and Sligo University Hospital and University Hospital Galway.

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