Protection for health and social care staff

Some Covid ward nurses have no protective equipment

Some Covid ward nurses have no protective equipment

In one case, a care home worker with a 22-month-old child was told he and colleagues would have to nurse sick residents despite not being issued with proper personal protective equipment (PPE), the union Unison said.

The recommended PPE is a fluid repellent facemask, apron, gloves and eye protection "if there is a risk of splashing or exposure to respiratory droplets", NHS England, Public Health England (PHE) and the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges said in a letter sent to practices, PCNs and trusts at the weekend.

She said: 'I am hearing from nurses who are treating patients in Covid-19 wards without any protection at all. "We need action, we need equipment, we need it now".

Weeks into the coronavirus pandemic, unions said many care home workers remain without masks or hand sanitiser, with just plastic aprons and gloves for protection.

Shortages in supplies of protective equipment for health workers has led to a desperate NHS procurement chief tweeting "God help us all".

"Having seen the tragic deaths of medics in Italy and now closer to home here in the United Kingdom, doctors and NHS staff have every right to be concerned, knowing that a lack of adequate protection is not only risky, it may be fatal".

Another doctor compared the situation to sending a soldier to war without the necessary equipment, while a junior doctor said it was "inevitable" that they would contract the virus because of a lack of PPE.

Hospital staff "hid" the equipment out of desperation, a doctor said.

"We work in a hospital where there are key workers - including caregivers, porters, health assistants - they also have the right to be protected".

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Care workers and community nurses are still struggling to do their jobs safely and with adequate protective gear, with experts saying they are "frustrated at the lack of pace".

Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said on Sunday at an information meeting in Downing Street that 170 million masks, some 42.8 million gloves, 13.7 million aprons, 182,000 gowns, almost 10 million cleaning items and 2.3 million pairs of eye protectors were delivered to front-line staff.

Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick told a Downing Street briefing yesterday that 170 million masks, some 42.8 million gloves, 13.7 million aprons, 182,000 gowns, nearly 10 million items of cleaning equipment and 2.3 million pairs of eye protectors were being delivered to frontline staff. They said she did not need a mask because she was not in contact with Covid patients but so many patients are asymptomatic.

He said: 'Every single GP practice, dental practice and community pharmacy has had a PPE delivery. "All nursing homes, hospices and home care providers have received or will receive shortly".

But she added that there was "certainly an acknowledgement that people need more of this".

Another doctor compared the situation to sending a soldier to war without the necessary equipment while a junior doctor said it feels like it is "inevitable" that they will contract the virus due to a lack of PPE.

The World Health Organization has warned that the "chronic" shortage of PPE threatens "our collective ability to save lives".

Global demand for PPE and a ban on export of the products in China is causing constraints on securing additional United Kingdom supplies, the Department of Health and Social Care has said.

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