Shortage of protective gear persists – medics

Protective gowns and eyewear are still in short supply despite national efforts to get personal protective equipment (PPE) to the frontline, medics have suggested.

Doctors’ Association UK (DAUKP) said that, although there has been improvements in PPE provision, there are still areas where there are low stock levels.

Doctors, nurses and healthcare staff are worried about their own safety, that of patients and their own families, DAUK said.

The campaign group has set up a tracker app to assess frontline shortages.

The NHSppe App has received input from more than 1,500 medics from 250 hospitals and GP practices across the UK.

Data collated on Tuesday morning from the app shows that:

– 38% of respondents reported no eye protection at all in the form of visors or goggles.

– Only 52% of doctors carrying out high risk aerosol generating procedures had the right long-sleeved gown.

HEALTH Coronavirus PPE
Personal protective equipment for health workers (PA Graphics)

Dr Jenny Vaughan, law and policy lead at Doctors’ Association UK, said: “Three weeks after writing to the Prime Minister about the lack of PPE, frontline NHS doctors are still reporting shortages.

“Whilst we acknowledge there have been improvements and that globally getting PPE is challenging, we are hearing reports of low stock or even no deliveries in some areas.

“Doctors, nurses and healthcare staff are worried about their own safety, that of patients and their own families.

“Opportunities to internationally source PPE through an EU scheme have been missed.

“Our doctors on the frontline have been left with little choice but to take matters into their own hands.

“The Doctors’ Association UK have partnered with Messly and crowdfunding partners NHS Heroes Support and Let’s Beat Covid to raise money and deliver as much of this vital PPE as we can to where it’s desperately required.”

It comes after Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey said the Government is confident that joining the EU’s ventilator schemes “wouldn’t have made any difference to the supply of PPE”.

Speaking to LBC, Ms Coffey said the UK “is in a better place now than necessarily we would have been under the EU scheme”.

She said: “The important point is that we have over 700 million pieces of PPE that are being delivered.”

Speaking to BBC Breakfast, Ms Coffey added that the UK “continues to need to increase our domestic production of key PPE measures” such as gowns and visors.

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