Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust may refuse to treat abusive patients as masks remain compulsory

An NHS trust has said it may refuse to treat patients who abuse staff, as mask-wearing at its hospitals remains compulsory.

By David Spereall
Thursday, 10th March 2022, 3:37 pm

The Mid Yorkshire Hospitals Trust said some members of the public had been abusive towards its employees, while asked to observe the rules.

All remaining Covid restrictions in England were lifted at the end of last month, including the requirement to wear masks in public places.

However, the trust, which runs Pontefract, Dewsbury and Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield, has asked patients and visitors to keep wearing them on site, in a bid to stem the spread of the virus.

Pinderfields Hospital, which is one three sites run by the Mid Yorkshire trust.

Social distancing and testing on admission also remain in place.

Trust chief Len Richards said: "We still ask people to wear a mask when they come into hospital, becase we have vulnerable people in our organisation and we want to protect them.

"We’re sticking with those things in the hospital, and I think that’s the right thing to do because we want to protect the most vulnerable.

He added: “I fully appreciate it can put staff in a difficult position when we have to ask members of the public to respect our rules, even though they no longer have to comply with mask wearing in the supermarket or on a train.

Trust chief Len Richards

"The trust will support any member of staff who is subject to abuse from patients or visitors.

"It should not be in a day’s work, and we have the right to refuse treatment.”

The number of Covid patients being treated at Pinderfields Hospital has risen slightly in recent weeks to a current figure of just over 50, having plunged over the course of February.

Admissions peaked at 157 in January, when the Omicron variant spread throughout the UK.

The trust said it had the right to refuse treatment to abusive patients.

Asked how long he thought mask-wearing would remain at the hospitals, Mr Richards said: "I think they’ll stay for a while.

"While Covid is with us, we should do all we can to limit the spread.

"There is still a health requirement to limit the spread of the disease."

Local Democracy Reporting Service