Doctors without PPE ‘bullied and shamed’ into treating patients

Doctors are being “bullied and shamed” into not wearing protective equipment during the coronavirus crisis, according an association.

The Doctors’ Association UK (DAUK) said one junior doctor had reported paediatricians attending deliveries of expectant mothers diagnosed with Covid-19 without wearing a mask.

The association, a doctor-led lobbying and campaigning group, says they had heard from frontline NHS staff who felt they had been bullied or shamed into not wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) due to shortages, and some who were told to “hold their breath” instead.

DAUK has developed an app with Messly to collate anonymous testimonials of frontline NHS staff struggling during the pandemic.

A consultant in London, who had repeatedly asked for personal protective equipment (PPE) while seeing patients diagnosed with Covid-19, has now reported becoming unwell themselves, the organisation said.

Also in London, DAUK said a junior doctor had reported there had been “severe rationing” and “paediatricians attending deliveries with Covid-19-positive mothers in just a flimsy apron and no FFP3 mask”.

The group said the junior doctor had also said staff were resuscitating babies “without adequate protection”.

Meanwhile, a surgeon in the North West reported to the association that they had been operating on coronavirus-positive patients without an appropriate mask.

Personal Protection Equipment
(PA Graphics)

DAUK said that over 500 reports were received on Sunday from 193 trusts and GP practices.

Their data found that 43% of doctors do not have any eye protection, some 72% do not have access to FFP3 (respirator) masks and 77% are without access to long sleeve gowns.

It also found some 60% have not been fit tested for masks.

DAUK president Dr Samantha Batt-Rawden said: “Lack of personal protective equipment continues to be a critical issue.

“It is heartbreaking to hear that some staff have been told to simply ‘hold their breath’ due to lack of masks.

“We are devastated, and can no longer stand by and and watch as more dedicated colleagues lose their life.”

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