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Back at work after shielding


Hi everyone,

Need some advice, not sure this is the right place but have nowhere else to ask.

So I have suspected severe asthma and have been shielding until last week when I went back to work for the nhs, I work in the community.

I have been very stressed going back but it was expected and I have been dealing with it. Occupational health said I am not to go into COVID positive patients or anyone showing symptoms and I am not to work with colleagues that have been in to these patients, all was fine until today, went into a patient that had all the symptoms and is waiting for her test results! I obviously didn’t know that until I was in there, my office didn’t know that either, the family didn’t tell us. I should have made my apologies and left but they needed my help and I didn’t have it in me to do that. I took every precaution but still.

So my question is where do I go from here? I don’t feel safe, I have basic ppe but my feeling is that this is going to keep happening and I dont know what to do. What would you do? Am I being silly?

I will call occupational health in the morning and make an appointment but I know they are really busy and in the meantime I will still be working.

If you got this far congrats!

6 Replies

Could you arrange that before you visit you phone. That way you will know if safe for you to visit.

Also I think you need to agree with management that should this situation arise again. You will immediately leave. Go home. Shower and change clothes before any further visits.

Yes I understand your dedication to your job but that will mean nothing if you become seriously unwell. Also think about your other visits that you won’t do due to one family being selfish!

Is there someone senior at work you can discuss OH's recommendations with? They sound sensible to me but the how are work going to facilitate that is what you need to know.

Agree contacting OH again is a good idea.

Surely if you've been in contact with someone who had symptoms and was waiting for results you should be isolating?

It's clear that occupational health overlooked the reality of working in the community. When you talk to them ask if they recommend daily telephone check-ins with list patients to establish whether or not they have covid symptoms or have been tested.

If you want to talk to someone about the risks posed and not addressed by your employer, call Access to Work, a free government scheme,

I assume you are a member of RCN or another union, please seek support from them. They will have reps who are trained in health and safety legislation.

Your employer has a legal duty of care to you and they should have a system in place on which you can depend if you come across a likely covid patient in your day to day duties.

My friend works as a community nurse and their manager has said that they will not be doing any visits until 2021 due to the risks posed by Covid-19.

I’ve been having visits from the surgery while shielding (blood tests and B12 shots), and every time I’ve had a call that morning checking I’m Covid symptom free - and that’s been staff with no underlying health problem!

Hope you can avoid this happening again - OH clearly haven’t thought this through.

Unfortunately not, we only have to isolate if we develop symptoms, well in my trust anyway I don’t know about others.

I had a long chat with a senior last night that basically said there is no safe way to do my job so they suggest looking at alternatives, I felt a lot better after talking to them. I will of course contact occupational health when they open tomorrow and go from there.

Now I’m faced with what alternative I can do but that’s a separate problem!

Thank you everyone for your replies, helped me tremendously

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