CLAIMS that staff at Alton Community Hospital are unknowingly treating coronavirus patients without personal protection kit have been denied by an NHS trust.

The allegations were made on BBC Radio 4’s Any Answers? show by a relative of a nurse.

She said the lack of information and kit could put staff and their families in danger.

She also said staff weren’t told if patients had the virus, nor were they tested for it before moving to Alton from a coronavirus hospital.

But Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust insists staff are told about patients’ conditions, patients with symptoms are tested, and staff do have protection kit.

The trust runs the community hospital in Chawton Park Road and refutes the claims made on BBC Radio 4s ’Any Answers?’ broadcast on Saturday, April 11.

The on-air complainant said that not telling staff they were treating patients who could potentially have the virus, and not supplying protection kit, was putting staff and their families at risk.

The radio row started with the accusation that patients from Basingstoke acute hospital, where many people from north Hampshire with coronavirus are being treated, were being transferred to Alton without being tested.

Current NHS guidelines say that only patients showing symptoms need to be tested.

Other patients routinely aren’t – wherever they are being moved from.

The trust says it is following the guidelines.

A trust spokesman said: “Alton hospital may accept patients from acute hospitals – including Basingstoke.

“Any patients being transferred who have coronavirus symptoms, would be, or have been, tested.

“And if a patient who tests coronavirus positive is transferred to another NHS facility, such as Alton, the team at that facility would be informed about this.”

The spokesman also said staff at Alton had protective kit in line with NHS guidelines.

He said: “Regardless of if patients are coronavirus positive, symptomatic, or asymptomatic, staff are wearing protective kit in all inpatient settings, as per the latest national guidance.

“Staff are also wearing it on home visits to patients, if the contact couldn’t be done via a telephone or video link.”