Nurses still ‘lack adequate and correct PPE’ despite deaths

Those working social care were disproportionately affected with “either no or poor access to PPE, and no hand sanitiser”.

James McKay
9 April 2020

Staff are “putting their own lives, the lives of their families and patients, at risk,” warned the College.

Healthcare staff across the country are still being placed at risk through a lack of adequate and correct personal protective equipment (PPE), according to the Royal College of Nursing.

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Evidence sent to the Health and Social Care Select Committee by the RCN claims that adequate PPE was still not reaching all nurses and other healthcare workers on the frontline.

Nurses are “putting their own lives, the lives of their families and patients, at risk,” warned the College.

According to the evidence, inadequate supplies mean nurses are being forced to work without PPE or use PPE that is below the minimum required protection for COVID-19.

A lack of COVID-19 testing was also identified as a key concern for nurses.

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Continued confusion.

At the time of publication twenty-three health and social care workers have lost their lives to COVID-19, with eight of these being registered nurses or midwives.

Front-line workers also reported being told to reuse single-use equipment or use PPE that was marked as out of date.

The evidence also notes that those working social care were disproportionately affected with “either no or poor access to PPE, and no hand sanitiser”.

Going on to warn that those “outside of acute NHS hospitals, continue to provide care to vulnerable people in society, yet there has been a disproportionate focus on ensuring supplies only for NHS hospitals. This is alarming and cannot continue”.

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The College also reported “continued confusion” over PPE with the advice from Public Health England and individual NHS trusts not matching that used in other parts of the world.

The Department of Health and Social Care has not responded to a request for comment.

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