Health Board green lights West Tallinn Hospital scheduled treatments ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

West Tallinn Central Hospital on Paldiski Maantee in Tallinn.
West Tallinn Central Hospital on Paldiski Maantee in Tallinn. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

The Health Board (Terviseamet) has ended its monitoring of a Tallinn hospital which suffered nearly 50 cases of coronavirus in March and April, with violations of restrictions during the coronavirus emergency situation also reported.

The move means the hospital, the West Tallinn Central Hospital (Lääne Tallinna Keskhaigla) on Paldiski mnt can resume scheduled treatments across all clinics and units within the complex.

The Health Board had identified violations including the incomplete or incorrect use of personal protective equipment (PPE) and in work process organization in the hospital's various departments.

Since then, minimum requirements have been satisfied, the Health Board finds, and no new cases of COVID-19 infections from within the hospital have been reported, meaning scheduled treatment can resume.

The first COVID-19 cases within the hospital were found in mid-March among staff members. From March 24, the virus started spreading among patients, with the ultimate tally of infections being the same for both categories – 24 staff and 24 patients.

The hospital employs 1,800 people in all departments.

Caregivers, doctors, support staff and nurses who had come into contact with coronavirus patients made up the bulk of the reported cases.

As of today, Friday, the Health Board has wound up its supervision procedures and given the go aheaad to the hospital to resume all scheduled treatments. Scheduled treatments in hospitals in Estonia were off the table through the worst of the pandemic, and have gradually been reintroduced; precautions such as the use of PPE are still in place.

Juta Varjas, the head of the procedure group at the Health Board's northern regional department said West Tallinn Central Hospital had been cooperative throughout the supervisory period and admitted shortcomings in its activities.

"The aim of the Health Board, in cooperation with the hospital, was to identify systemic deficiencies in ensuring infection safety and help to eliminate these quickly," Varjas said.

"The main task of the Health Board in the hospital was aimed at the safe re-introduction of planned treatment. Guidelines and requirements play a very important role in creating a safe hospital environment so far as infection risk goes, but adhering to the rules is an ongoing responsibility for every hospital employee," she went on.

The Health Board's monitoring procedure was nationwide, not confined to the West Tallinn Central Hospital; one exception is the spread of infection in Kuressaare Hospital on Saaremaa, by far the worst hit region of Estonia during the pandemic. A Health Insurance Fund (Haigekassa) audit is being conducted to get to the bottom of what happened there.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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