Lack of protective gear for NHS staff ‘an utter disgrace’ says Oxford doctor

AN URGENT review of personal protective equipment for healthcare workers ordered by the Government has been condemned as an ‘utter disgrace’.

In response to confusion and concern about what NHS staff need to protect themselves in the worsening Covid-19 pandemic the Department of Health and Social Care, Public Health England and NHS England announced they would will re-examine current guidance over what is known as personal protective equipment or PPE.

However, Dr Rachel Clarke, from Oxford, branded the review an ‘utter disgrace’.

Dr Clarke, a palliative care specialist who tweets under the name @doctor_oxford, pointed out that NHS England’s PPE guidance differed from that of the World Health Organisation.

She said: “I simply cannot understand why I am not an infection risk to other staff and patients when only a skimpy plastic apron covers my body.

“Arms, neck, back and lower legs all bare, uncovered, potentially covered with Covid-19 from infected patients.”

Dr Clarke is not the only health professional calling for clearer guidance.

Many nurses and doctors have demanded deliveries of more PPE and for better instructions on when to use it to reduce their risk of contracting the virus.

England Director at the Royal College of Nursing, Mike Adams, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “Members are finding PPE is not available, in short supply or in a lot of cases there is a lot of inconsistent messages within the service about what equipment should be used and when.

“This is something we are really calling on that there is a more consistent approach across all services.”

In a statement, the medical director of Public Health England, Dr Yvonne Doyle, announced: “Now that Covid-19 is much more widespread, we will carry out a rapid piece of work ensuring the guidance is clearer on which PPE should be worn in different NHS settings.”

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