Many frontline doctors treating coronavirus patients in the UK are suffering from a shortage of basic protective equipment, according to research by the British Medical Association (BMA).
Meanwhile, the body representing hospital trusts in England, NHS Providers, has warned that the supply of clinical gowns was “critical” and that some would “run out of fully fluid repellent gowns this weekend”.
Euronewsbases its report on a BMA survey published on Saturday said that supplies are failing to get through to hospitals in Britain’s National Health Service (NHS), even though many factories are ready to make them. The research found that half of 6,000 respondents working in high-risk areas reported shortages of disposable gowns and goggles. Two-thirds reported insufficient or no eye protection.
The Telegraphreports that NHS staff warned that they may refuse to work this weekend if supplies of gowns and other PPE are unavailable for them to deal with coronavirus patients, the union Unison says.
The warning came after Public Health England reversed guidance to hospitals on Friday, asking staff to reuse equipment. Unison head of health Sara Gorton said: “These are absolute worse case scenerio measures, which staff hope their organisations won’t have to implement.
“No part of the NHS should use this move as an excuse to ration supplies of gowns when they still have stock.” It comes as NHS Providers warned some hospitals’ supplies could run out in 24 hours, and asked medical staff in England are to be asked to attend to medical needs without fully protective gowns and to reuse equipment due to shortage fears. Leading health figures have said the situation regarding levels of PPE for health staff is “worrying”.
Sky Newsreported that the British Medical Association has warned that doctors and nurses should not be asked to “put their lives on the line” to save others, and said PHE’s decision was “a further admission of the dire situation that some doctors and healthcare workers continue to find themselves in because of government failings”.