Front-line NHS workers urgently need adequate PPE and COVID-19 testing

A number of healthcare professionals died after being exposed to the virus.

Kizzy Bass
24 March 2020
Nurse wearing PPE

The RCN has called for the Prime Ministers ‘personal intervention’.

A letter has been sent to the Prime Minister asking for his personal intervention to ensure all nursing and medical staff treating COVID-19 patients have access to sufficient personal protective equipment (PPE).

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Over the weekend, there were increasing reports of a lack of PPE available to frontline staff – in hospitals, GP surgeries, care homes and community nurses visiting people in their homes.

The UK NHS Pandemic Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) Guidance also does not completely align with that of the World Health Organisation (WHO), specifically guidance on the use of eye protection and gowns.

Matt Hancock, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care yesterday admitted “challenges” with the supply of PPE to NHS staff but insisted a million face masks were on their way to workers.

Sent by the head of the Royal College of Nursing, it also includes a call to the PM to increase the number of tests for the virus in nurses, so staff with possible symptoms know whether they have been infected with Covid-19.

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Personally intervene.

Last week the British Medical Association revealed that some of it’s members had resulted to buying their own PPE at hardware stores. 

While the exact figure is not known, a number of healthcare professionals around the world have died following exposure to the virus while caring for patients.

Dame Donna Kinnair, RCN Chief Executive and General Secretary, writes: “Our members have been unstinting in their dedication and professionalism to protecting the health and wellbeing of the United Kingdom – they must be supported by the Government and health sector in return.

“Our members are coming out of retirement, students are interrupting their studies, and nursing staff are deploying from non-clinical settings, all to support the front-line in the battle against Covid-19.

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“We ask you to personally intervene and act to ensure enough supply of PPE and testing for Covid-19 is available for all nursing staff and our colleagues across the health and care system”.

You can read the letter in full here

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