People 'spread Covid disinformation' at Letterkenny hospital

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A hospital group in the Republic of Ireland has expressed "grave concerns" about people spreading disinformation about Covid-19 at its sites.

It followed two incidents at Letterkenny University Hospital, in County Donegal, in the past week.

In one instance, a video emerged which showed a Covid patient being encouraged to leave the hospital.

An Garda Síochána (Irish police) said enquiries were ongoing.

The Saolta University Healthcare Group said it was worried about "the impact of this type of activity on both patients and staff".

"Patient safety and care is of paramount importance," the group said.

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

"The deliberate spreading of dis-information 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."

Gardaí said they had responded to incidents at the hospital on 14 and 16 September.

A spokesperson said that on 14 September gardaí responded to a report of a disturbance but when they arrived those involved were no longer present.

On 16 September gardaí attended in response to a disturbance involving a male visitor to the hospital, but the spokesperson said that when officers arrived "the individual had left of his own accord".

"An Garda Síochána has no role in the enforcement of public health guidelines," the spokesperson added.

The hospital group said it could not comment on individual cases but that everyone coming to its sites "must continue to follow all the public health guidance including wearing a face mask and using hand gel regularly".

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