NURSES UNDER PRESSURE TO WORK WITHOUT PPE – says RCN

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NURSING staff in the UK are still under pressure to work without PPE and lack promised gowns.

Over a third of nursing staff (34%) in the UK say they are still under pressure to care for patients with possible or confirmed Covid-19 without adequate protective equipment.
The findings are revealed in the latest UK-wide member survey on PPE by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN).
Despite promises of delivery of gowns, nearly a quarter (23%) of respondents who require them said there were not enough gowns for them to use, with a further 34% concerned about the supply for their next shift.
Nursing staff are still raising concerns about PPE, with over half of respondents (58%) saying they had raised concerns about PPE and more than a quarter (27%) reporting those concerns said they had not been addressed.
When asked why they may not have raised concerns more than two-thirds (68%) in this group said they did not believe any action would be taken, with nearly a quarter (24%) saying they were worried it would negatively impact on their career or training progression.
The findings are from a survey conducted by the Royal College of Nursing to provide a snapshot of PPE shortages. The survey also found that of those working in the highest risk environments:

  • Almost one in five respondents (19%) said there were not enough respirator masks for them to use, with a further 35% concerned about the supply for their next shift
  • 44% of respondents are still being asked to reuse single-use equipment
  • 32% had not been adequately fit-tested for respirator masks with the most common reasons being there are too many different brands/types of mask to be able to fit-test them all, or that their employer had not scheduled fit-testing.

Dame Donna Kinnair, Chief Executive and General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing said: ‘We continue to hear that our members are still not adequately protected. This is particularly concerning especially if the country faces the threat of a second wave.
‘We have repeatedly raised the issue with UK governments and have heard assurances that PPE is being delivered. But this survey – and the direct contact I have with members – shows that is not the experience on the ground in hospitals as well as in care homes.’