YORK Central MP Rachael Maskell is to intervene over the controversial sackings of York hospice staff for a breach of lockdown rules.

A nurse and two healthcare assistants were dismissed after they and 16 other hospice employees gathered in a pub beer garden on the afternoon of Sunday, May 16, breaking social distancing regulations, before regulations were relaxed the following day.

Their dismissal, first reported by The Press yesterday, has prompted a ferocious debate on the newspaper's website and on social media, with more than 200 people giving their views so far.

Some have condemned the hospice's actions as unduly harsh, and a disgusting way to treat staff, while others have backed the decision, saying staff's actions put hospice patients at risk.

One person commented: "It's unbelievable how the staff have been treated."

Another person said:"This is utterly shameful... The crime does not suit the punishment. This should have been a written warning and not a dismissal."

A third said: "The level of sanctions is preposterous - how many of us can honestly say we didn't technically breach the regs at some point?"

But another person commented: "They knew the rules, they should not have done it, simple really."

And another said:"The law is the law, we don't get to pick and choose which ones we follow."

A number of allegations have been made which The Press is putting to the hospice today.

Ms Maskell said today she would be meeting with the hospice in due course, adding: "I am hoping to find a positive resolution to this situation."