Health staff infected with SCABIES - but ward remains open

editorial image

Staff at a mental health unit have been struck down with scabies - but health chiefs say it “sounds a lot more serious than it is”.

The Older Person’s Assessment Service (TOPAS) in Bletchley remains open despite three people having contracted the contagious skin disease.

But a spokesman for NHS Foundation Trust says the ward “acted promptly” and no patients at the Fern Grove ward appear to have caught it.

“I think it is ridiculous that the ward hasn’t been shut down,” said a source at the unit.

“I suspect it is because of the costs involved.

“If that is the case, then it is outrageous.”

Two staff members have now returned to work, but one remains on sick-leave until their GP says they are fit to go back.

There is “no reason to believe” they contracted the disease at work, said the NHS.

A spokesman added: “It is an irritating condition that is very easy to treat.

“That said, the word scabies sounds a lot more serious than it is.

“No patient appears to have the condition, but we are taking sensible preventative measures.

“On some occasions – like norovirus or a diarrhoea and vomiting outbreak – we may close a ward to new admissions and treat existing patients where they are.

“We stress however, this condition is a easily treatable, to be avoided as it is uncomfortable, but it is not life threatening.”