Healthcare workers say they are scared of working through the COVID-19 pandemic.
Nursing and other healthcare staff from across the country have told NursingNotes how scared they are about working through the COVID-19 pandemic.
In nearly 100 emails sent over 6 days, staff told us they were worried about their families, their patients, a shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE), a lack of COVID-19 testing and poor support from some NHS managers.
At the time of writing, fourteen health and social care professionals have sadly died of COVID-19.
One nurse from London told us she had not seen her 12-month-old daughter for weeks as she felt obliged to live away from her in order to protect her; “I simply couldn’t live with myself if I brought it [COVID-19] home to my daughter and something happened”.
Another nurse from the North East says she is “terrified” to go to work. “How are we supposed to look after our patients with an ever-dwindling supply of facemasks, aprons and goggles?! I am terrified I will spread it [COVID-19] to other patients or get sick myself,” she said.
Grass-roots organisation Nurses United have developed a safety tool to report and track lapses in PPE.
This cannot continue.
Speaking previously about PPE, Dame Donna Kinnair, RCN Chief Executive and General Secretary, said; “I am hearing from nurses who are treating patients in Covid-19 wards without any protection at all. This cannot continue. They are putting themselves, their families, and their patients at risk.
“As the professional trade union representing potentially the largest group of affected workers, the RCN has said repeatedly that we will not accept anything less than aprons, gloves and masks for all staff, in all settings.
“But this is a minimum – and that is why we are so disappointed even that level of protection has yet to be provided.
“Every minute we wait is a minute too long. All nursing staff, no matter where they work, must feel safe. We need action, we need equipment, we need it now.”
Matt Hancock, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, claims the NHS has “massive” amounts of PPE but is finding distribution difficult.