UK coronavirus live: NHS frontline staff may quit over lack of PPE, says union | Politics

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NHS frontline workers may walk over lack of PPE, says union

NHS frontline staff may refuse to work if there is not enough personal protective equipment (PPE) to ensure their safety, the UK’s biggest union has warned.

The warning came in response to new guidance from Public Health England, revealed by the Guardian on Friday, which instructs healthcare workers to reuse disposable PPE. The guidelines also recommended that medics wear aprons if they are unable to access full-length gowns, and there are concerns that some PPE supplies are close to running out.

Sara Gorton, the head of health at Unison, said:

If gowns run out, staff in high-risk areas may well decide that it’s no longer safe for them to work.

No part of the NHS should use this move as an excuse to ration supplies of gowns when they still have stocks. That would cause a damaging breakdown of trust at a time when staff are working under intense pressure.

Here is the full story.

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Good morning everybody. Thousands of doctors and nurses are concerned about inadequate supplies of personal protection equipment (PPE) amid fears some hospitals could run out entirely this weekend.

A British Medical Association survey of more than 6,000 doctors across the country said a significant amount of them remain without the protection they need to guard against Covid-19. Meanwhile another survey by the Royal College of Nursing found half of nurses have felt pressure to work without appropriate protective equipment during the crisis.

It comes after it was revealed that doctors and nurses in England will be asked to work without full-length gowns and to reuse items when treating patients with coronavirus ahead of expected shortages of protective garments, prompting outrage from unions.

The Guardian

Guardian front page, Saturday 18 April 2020: NHS staff told ‘wear aprons’ as protective gowns run out

April 17, 2020

The story, from our health editor Denis Campbell, is on the Guardian’s front page today. The U-turn on Public Health England guidelines saw doctors and nurses told to work without full-length protective gowns – and to use flimsy plastic aprons instead – when treating patients with Covid-19, as hospitals came within hours of running out of supplies. The full story is here.

On Friday, the health secretary Matt Hancock told the Commons health committee that he would “love to be able to wave a magic wand” to increase PPE supplies. He said the equipment was a “precious resource” and that maintaining supplies was challenging due to the very high global demand.

At least 50 NHS workers have now died after contracting the virus. Here are some of their stories.

We’ll be bringing you all the latest UK coronavirus developments as the day unfolds. As ever, if you’d like to get in touch with a story, comments, tips or suggestions, please feel free to email me at [email protected] or message me on Twitter, I’m on @lucy_campbell_.


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