Doctors and nurses have been warning for weeks that without adequate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), clinicians on the front-line were putting their lives at risk.
It is, of course, a tragedy that a health worker such as consultant Amged El-Hawrani has died from the coronavirus.
But sadly, it is all but certain he will be the first of many who succumb while trying to help others.
It is an outrage that there have been horrendous shortages, mistakes and confusion around PPE, for it risks destabilising the NHS effort to tackle the virus. A clinician is pictured wearing a mask and gloves at a coronavirus testing station
And my belief is that unless we urgently address the lack of PPE then many could die needlessly.
Clinicians know that there is a risk in doing their jobs. They accept that they do not have an option to work from home like the majority of the public, and their work puts them directly in the firing line of the virus.
But the least we can do as a nation is ensure that they are as well protected as possible.
It is an outrage that there have been horrendous shortages, mistakes and confusion around PPE, for it risks destabilising the NHS effort to tackle the virus.
At the moment we are sending doctors, nurses and other clinical staff into a potentially deadly working environment.
It is, of course, a tragedy that a health worker such as consultant Amged El-Hawrani has died from the coronavirus. But sadly, it is all but certain he will be the first of many who succumb while trying to help others
There are reports that the Government had actually stockpiled PPE but when they came to check it, they found much of it was too old to be of any use. It seems no one ever really thought it would be needed – until it was.
What’s more, documents that have recently surfaced suggest officials at the Department of Health and Social Care resisted expert advice to ensure there was enough eye protection – eyes are a known entry point of the virus – in case of a pandemic such as this, arguing that it would be too expensive.
There is now a mad scramble to get adequate protection for workers on the front-line.
And if more doctors and nurses die, front-line staff may feel so unsafe that they start to refuse to come to work. That would be catastrophic in an NHS already stretched gossamer thin because of staff sickness,
There have been reports of staff having to buy their own kit. Nurses at the Royal Free Hospital in London tied clinical waste bags around their legs as improvised protection while staff at North Middlesex Hospital have been wrapping plastic aprons around their heads.
It has amounted to a PR disaster for the Government, but it is a matter of life and death for staff on the ground.
Many staff have also become suspicious that there have recently been changes to official advice about the level of protection necessary, meaning they are now wearing less protective gear than recommended by the World Health Organisation when dealing with patients.
Doctors and nurses have been warning for weeks that without adequate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), clinicians on the front-line were putting their lives at risk. Medical equipment is pictured above outside London’s Excel centre, converted into NHS Nightingale Hospital
On the ground, it feels very muddled and confused. I say that as someone who works on the wards and has had patients who have tested positive for the virus.
How can it be right that we are not protected when we see our charges at close quarters where they can cough over us – especially when we are all told to stand more than six feet apart?
The Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Dr Jenny Harries, said on March 20 that ‘the country has a perfectly adequate supply of PPE’. Many staff beg to disagree.
The Department of Health says that in recent days more than 15million face masks have been delivered to the front-line, including 24.6million gloves and 1.9million sets of eye protection. Tragically for some, this response has come too late.
Source: Daily Mail – Articles