Frontline nurses protest over a lack of protective equipment

The government continues to deny any ongoing shortage of PPE. 

James McKay
29 April 2020
PPE Protest

A lack of protective equipment is “partly to blame” for the death of health and social care workers.

Nurses on the frontline of the battle against COVID-19 led a protest yesterday amid a lack of personal protective equipment (PPE).


The dispute is based on a difference between the World Health Organization’s guidance on recommended PPE for COVID-19 and the guidance trusts are following from Public Health England (PHE).

Nurses United alleges that the variation in guidance is due to a failure to stockpile enough PPE to keep NHS and Social Care staff safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The grass-roots nursing organisation also suggests that a lack of PPE is at least “partly to blame” for the high number of health and social care professionals that have died from COVID-19.

Mark Boothroyd, an A&E Nurse and organiser of the protest said: “We are protesting PHE’s PPE guidance which isn’t safe for nursing staff. PHE guidance is used to restrict access to gowns and FFP3 masks, and effectively acts as a ‘rational’ basis for rationing and restricting the limited supply, which endangers nursing staff.


“We want honesty from the Government, especially following the BBC Panorama report which showed their multiple failings in PPE provision.

“We want a revision of PHE guidance so gowns and FFP3 masks can be used for all close contact with covid19 positive patients, and a clear plan from the Government of how they are going to provide adequate supplies of PPE to all essential workers throughout this pandemic and ensure this situation does not arise again in the future.”

Anthony Johnson, Nurse and Lead Organiser for Nurses United said: “It is pretty shameful that our staff on the frontlines have to come out and protest for the right to be safe at work.

“We can all agree that the only way we will get through this pandemic is through the hard work of our NHS staff who have held up their side of the bargain. Why won’t Westminster hold up theirs?”


The government continues to deny any ongoing shortage of PPE.

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