Mar 26, 2020 14:25 UTC
  •  UK healthcare workers personal protection equipment inadequate

From the start of the coronavirus crisis NHS staff have voiced concern that the personal protective equipment available to them was inadequate for the risks involved in treating patients with Covid-19.

They fear that their own lives, and those of their families, could be at risk if they contract the virus in the course of treating people who have contracted the disease. Increasing reports of doctors and nurses ending up in intensive care as a result of exposure to the virus has heightened these concerns.

The British Medical Association, the doctors’ trade union, has warned that medics could fall seriously ill and even lose their lives because they do not have the right kit. It was scornful of assurances made in recent days by ministers and NHS bosses that millions of pieces of PPE are finally reaching hospitals, GP surgeries and ambulance services.

Dr Chaand Nagpaul, the BMA’s chair of council, said: “A construction worker wouldn’t be allowed to work without a hard hat and proper boots. Even a beekeeper wouldn’t inspect a hive without proper protective clothing. And yet this government expects NHS staff to put themselves at risk of serious illness, or even death, by treating highly infectious Covid-19 patients without wearing proper protection. This is totally unacceptable.”