AN ISLE of Wight councillor has given a heartfelt response to those who questioned Covid visitor restrictions at the Isle of Wight's only hospital.

Scroll down to read both councillor's responses ... 

Earlier this week, members of the council's Health and Scrutiny Committee questioned when visitor restrictions at St Mary's Hospital, in Newport, would be lifted.

Restrictions have been in place since before the first lockdown, in March last year, with only certain types of patients allowed visitors, including those most vulnerable or children.

Cllr Clare Mosdell said she understood restrictions but it was distressing for those who wanted to visit patients as well as damaging to the mental health of those in hospital.

Another, Cllr Joe Robertson, asked if it would be possible to have clinical staff on the front door instead of security guards.

Read more from the meeting here:

The Isle of Wight NHS Trust said lifting restrictions was not something it could do as there was a rise of Covid cases in the community and staff illness but it was also following national guidance.

Isle of Wight County Press:

Since reading the comments, Cllr Ian Dore has shared his view as a 'nephew, husband and father' who 'owes everything' to the staff at St Mary's this year.

You can read his full letter here:

"I don’t indulge in ‘tit for tat’ exchanges as I agree and disagree with views on various subjects, from all sides of the chamber. This is my view, not as a councillor but as a nephew, a husband and a father.

"This year family members and I have been in and out of St Mary's as if we were frequent flyers. Covid has ripped a massive hole through the staffing strength of clinical members so the suggestion from Cllr Robertson to have the door manned by clinical staff is nothing more than insulting.

"With a rise in cases, the winter season coming and no real idea of how Omicron is going to affect the community, such comments display a total lack of understanding and are a terrible misjudgement of ‘reading the room’. Only a year ago we were all out clapping for them as they went about saving lives, now it's being suggested they put their medical skills to one side and get on the door!

"My auntie, who died of cancer this year, spent a number of weeks in St Mary's and although we couldn't go in, the always helpful staff facilitated our wheelchair pushes around the duck pond and it made such a difference before she passed away. My wife had a heart attack and again, the ambulance crews, nurses, consultants and all that cared for her were able to, because they were at full strength.

Isle of Wight County Press:

"By having registered security members on the door, it keeps people safe and the essential clinical staff, doing what they do best. Caring for us and saving lives. By suggesting otherwise is also diminishing and sullying the often challenging work the door staff do.

"We had a baby in lockdown, I couldn't go and visit. Rightly so. There is a bigger picture to consider. You need as many midwives and consultants plus support staff on deck, 24/7. They are the lifesavers and as such, are the priority. To even hint at an entry solution that takes clinical staff off the front line, is irresponsible. My other daughter has to visit frequently because she suffers fevers that sometimes require professional management. Again, protection of the clinical staff in the children’s ward (like every ward) is absolutely paramount.

"Only last week, I was personally 'treated' to not one but two cameras about my person, to see whether there were any nasty things lurking, causing my stomach upsets. Because there is professional security personnel manning the access, it meant there was a full complement of medical heroes to cater for my needs.

"It may have gone unnoticed to some in the political bubble, but the NHS is up against it. Operations are being cancelled and life-saving treatment is being bumped in place of Covid support. Medical practitioners are having to make difficult judgements that could well affect the well being of your loved ones. They need all the clinical staff they can get.

"I’ve seen it through the eyes of birth, death and in between. On all occasions, the restrictions were put in place to save lives and prevent further injury. For that, you have to have the appropriate staff in the appropriate locations.

"All the staff at St Marys have literally been lifesavers and I wish them the best Christmas they can possibly have. I owe them everything this year and it's a debt I can never repay."

Isle of Wight County Press:

Cllr Robertson has replied, saying:

"The role of the health and social care committee, of which I am a member, is to scrutinise senior decision-makers including at the NHS Trust. Residents have raised concerns with me that in order to gain access to A&E, unless you are transported by ambulance, you are met with two masked security guards standing outside the main door and they make a decision about who is allowed to enter. This is in the absence of a clinician.

"While it may be a necessary temporary arrangement, I asked what plans there were to return to business as normal. In the course of asking my question I remarked that a healthcare assistant or a nurse with a clear visor would be more welcoming particularly for A&E admissions. Cllr Dore appears to have misunderstood my remarks at a meeting he could have been present at but was not.

"He could have asked me to clarify my position before going to the press however I suspect the opportunity to make some political noise played a role in his decision not to.

"As he is aware, I was speaking from personal experience having had to visit A&E myself last month. We all want what is best for health care on the Island and patients must come first.

"Health and social care scrutiny is not an issue that a councillor should take the first opportunity to score points off another councillor."