‘Abandoned’ doctors will leave field due to lack of protective gear, medics warn

Doctors will be forced to leave the profession during the coronavirus pandemic due to a lack of protective equipment, the head of a medics group has warned.

Amid fears over NHS staff shortages, the head of the Doctors' Association UK said existing staff may feel forced to leave because they do not have adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) to safely treat Covid-19 patients.

Chairman Dr Rinesh Parmar gave the warning as the Government urges recruitment of medical staff, including asking those who have recently left to return to help cope with the pandemic.

He told The Guardian: "The longer this epidemic goes on for, if doctors feel that there is a widespread lack of personal protective equipment, then some doctors may feel they have no choice but to give up the profession they love because they feel so abandoned by not being given the PPE that the World Health Organisation recommends.

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Pictures of the week: March 22 - 28
Sean (no surname given) asks for money so he can pay for a hostel for the night in Wolverhampton city centre as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
A Sussex Police van moves amongst people walking along the promenade in Brighton as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Members of the public jog down Portobello Road in Notting Hill, London as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Police stop motorists as they travel on Park Street, Bristol, where random checks on essential travel are taking place as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Information screens saluting local heroes on a main road passing Canary Wharf in east London as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Police patrol Park Street, Bristol, where they are checking the movement of people as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
The Men's toilet facilities at the Strensham Services in Worcestershire where alternate urinals are out of use to maintain social distancing as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Members of the public wearing masks queue to enter shops in Melton Mowbray as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Tape marks out 2 metre sections on the floor to implement social distancing measures at a Tesco store in Peterborough, after Prime Minister Boris Johnson has put the UK in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
A deserted Piccadilly Circus during morning rush hour after Prime Minister Boris Johnson put the UK in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Customers queue between social distancing markers on the pavement outside a supermarket in Westminster, London after Prime Minister Boris Johnson put the UK in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
A London bus driver wearing a protective face mask on Westminster Bridge, London, after Prime Minister Boris Johnson made the decision to put the UK in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
A man walks in Canary Wharf, London during rush hour, after Prime Minister Boris Johnson has put the UK in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
British Airways planes parked on the tarmac at Glasgow Airport after Prime Minister Boris Johnson has put the UK in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Postal delivery worker Matt delivers mail in the village of Ironbridge in Shropshire, while his customers have to stay at home, after Prime Minister Boris Johnson has put the UK in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Information signs advise people to take essential travel only on the Queensferry Crossing, near Edinburgh, after Prime Minister Boris Johnson has put the UK in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Baby Laggar falcons at The International Centre for Birds of Prey in Newent, after Prime Minister Boris Johnson has put the UK in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
A man wearing a protective face mask walks in Canary Wharf, London during rush hour, after Prime Minister Boris Johnson has put the UK in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Simon Cotterill, Head Teacher of Manor Park School and Nursery in Knutsford Cheshire, sits in an empty classroom, the day after Prime Minister Boris Johnson put the UK in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
A couple hug on the steps on The National Gallery in Trafalgar Square in London the day after Prime Minister Boris Johnson put the UK in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
A view of Lakeside Retail Park in Thurrock, Essex, the day after Prime Minister Boris Johnson put the UK in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
A quiet Canary Wharf Underground Station, the day after Prime Minister Boris Johnson put the UK in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
A couple wearing protevtive equipment walk by the Bullring in Birmingham, the day after Prime Minister Boris Johnson put the UK in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Skegness pier is closed, the day after Prime Minister Boris Johnson put the UK in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
A man walks in Holyrood Park, Edinburgh, the day after Prime Minister Boris Johnson put the UK in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
A sign from the Royak Parks notifying the public about social distancing at the Piccadilly entrance to Green Park, London, as Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said the Government is ready to impose tougher restrictions to curb the spread of the coronavirus if people do not follow the guidance on social distancing.
Hospital staff and ambulance staff prepare to take a patient into the Royal Liverpool University Hospital, as Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said the Government is ready to impose tougher restrictions to curb the spread of the coronavirus if people do not follow the guidance on social distancing.
A dog walker looks at the signage the entrance for Osterley Park and House in Isleworth, London, after The National Trust announced it has shut down all of its parks and and gardens across the UK until further notice.
British Airways aircraft parked at Bournemouth airport where they are expected to remain after the airline reduced flights amid travel restrictions and a huge drop in demand as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Drivers form a long queue to use a McDonald's drive-thru near Dover in Kent as it was announced that all of their restaurant locations in the UK and Ireland will close by 7pm on Monday to protect the safety of their employees and customers from coronavirus.
Emily, 9, sits at her desk at home on the first day of home schooling after schools shut on Friday due to the coronavirus pandemic.
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"That's the travesty of this situation – that the Government needs to protect frontline health workers and in return they will give 100%.

"But the Government hasn't kept its side of the bargain with NHS staff by not having enough PPE available to safeguard the health of doctors and nurses."

For healthcare workers providing treatment to Covid-19 patients, the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends a medical mask, gown, gloves and eye protection.

However, the agency noted there is an international shortage of PPE, particularly masks and respirators.

Dr Parmar's comments come after Matt Hancock promised a "military effort" to get equipment to health and social care workers.

On Tuesday, the Health and Social Care Secretary announced that a new hotline had been set up that staff can call if they are running low on supplies.

He said that 7.5 million pieces of protective equipment, including face masks, had been shipped out to frontline workers in the past day.

During the daily Downing Street briefing on coronavirus, Mr Hancock said: "Many, many people across the NHS are asking for more personal protective equipment (PPE).

"If people are working on the frontline to look after us, it is vital that we look after them."

Dr Parmar previously said some doctors had felt like "lambs to the slaughter" and "cannon fodder" while they were treating patients with the virus without the recommended PPE.

The group, which describes itself as a campaigning and lobbying organisation and represents more than 29,000 UK doctors, previously said that less than 1% of doctors surveyed felt the NHS was prepared for a coronavirus outbreak.

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