NURSES are forced to ‘hold their breath’ because of inadequate face masks during dangerous operations, while doctors have absolutely no eye protection, it was revealed yesterday.
These were some of the shocking revelations from Dr Rinesh Parmar, chair of the Doctors’ Association, when he appeared on Sky News Sophy Ridge Show yesterday morning.
Appearing on the programme after Health Secretary Matt Hancock, Dr Parmar said: ‘We are concerned at hearing from the Health Secretary that he’s trying to support NHS staff at a time when we still have issues with personal protective equipment and with the testing of frontline staff, a concern that’s on-going.
‘I don’t think he’s really addressed some of those concerns of frontline NHS staff in his comments today.
‘Unfortunately, it’s been two weeks since the Health Secretary said that he is pledging to ensure that the right equipment gets to the right doctor, the right hospital and the right GP practice and we’ve seen that sadly that’s still not happening. So doctors have been left with no choice but to take matters into their own hands.
‘At the Doctors’ Association UK we have created an app called nhsppe.com. So since Thursday we’ve been surveying hundreds of doctors at over 150 hospitals and they’ve told us, 43% of doctors have said that they’ve got absolutely no eye protection at all, with nearly 20% telling us that they’ve got no eye protection for the most severe and most high risk procedures.
‘Doctors have said that they are having to re-use masks which should be single use only.
‘They are saying that nurses are telling them that while they are doing these high risk procedures they are trying to hold their breath because they are unsure and unaware of whether the mask that’s been provided is going to offer them adequate protection.
‘It is really harrowing to hear that sort of story across the NHS. We are hearing every day of more and more cases, particularly general practitioners, who simply don’t have the eye protection and basic equipment that they need.
‘We’ve seen doctors resorting to accepting donations from local schools for example, using science goggles that children would normally be using in their labs and repurposing those for use in their surgeries.
‘We’re all very concerned about potentially losing more colleagues. It’s sad to hear that we’ve already lost doctors and nurses in the line of duty doing their very, very best for patients. None of us wants to hear further stories of frontline staff losing their lives.’
Dr Parmar concluded: ‘Hearing that 15% of doctors, that’s three times the number the Health Secretary quotes, are currently off work, a significant amount of the NHS workforce, is a worry going forward. We can’t get these people tested quickly enough and get them back to work.’
- Nurses at Brighton and Sussex University Hospital (BSUH) are forced to make their own PPE from laminate sheets and elastic bands due to a lack or equipment.
Gary Palmer GMB Regional Organiser said: ‘Is this how we expect those risking their lives in the face of a pandemic to be treated? Frontline nursing staff forced to make their own PPE to protect themselves?
- Great Western Hospital (GWH) staff have been ‘left in tears’ after looking after Covid-19 positive patients without proper PPE.
Asia Allison, GMB Regional Organiser, said: ‘GWH staff say they are terrified, working day-to-day knowing the chance of them catching coronavirus due to inadequate personal protective equipment becomes more likely on every shift.’
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