Frontline NHS staff are resorting to self-bought PPE, finds BMA survey

Two thirds of frontline Doctors say they still don’t feel fully protected from COVID-19.

Laura Townsend
3 May 2020
PPE Face Mask

Frontline staff also report worsening mental distress including depression, anxiety, and burnout.

Almost half of doctors have relied upon donated or self-bought PPE and two thirds still don’t feel fully protected from COVID-19, a survey has revealed.


The survey conducted by the British Medical Association (BMA) is believed to be the biggest survey of frontline NHS doctors since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Results from the survey shows that an astonishing 85% of GPs and 38% of hospital doctors have been forced to source their own PPE for themselves or their department to use.

Despite over half of doctors saying they felt only partly, or not at all protected from COVID-19, in their workplace – 30% said they wouldn’t bother to speak up as they didn’t think anything would be done about it.

It has also been revealed that one in four doctors either failed or have not been fit tested for an FFP3 mask at all.


One doctor commented: “The PPE situation is an outrage for all staff. Lives lost for want of plastic visors, masks, and eye protection.” Another said: “Adequate PPE supply in terms of gowns and visors would reduce stress within the team as almost all of our patients are Covid positive”

Furthermore, 25% of doctors surveyed report worsening mental distress during the pandemic including depression, anxiety and burnout.

Dr Chaand Nagpaul, BMA Council Chair said: “The survey shows that overall, there has been an improvement in the provision of PPE, but if almost half of all doctors report that they had to resort to purchasing PPE themselves or rely on donations, then there is still a lot for the Government to do to protect its frontline.”

“The Government has five tests it has said must be met to ease lockdown – the first of which is ‘making sure the NHS can cope’. Six weeks into this crisis, how can the Government be confident that this condition is anywhere near being met, or that the pandemic is under control, when the very people on the frontline are not being made safe?”


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