Coronavirus: NHS doctor asks 'why gamble with our lives?' as calls for tests grow

  • The following blog has been written for ITV News by a doctor working in an NHS University Hospital in England during the coronavirus outbreak. They wish to remain anonymous.

I am a doctor who has been working with coronavirus patients and now I am off because I am unwell with a fever.

It has forced me into self-isolation.

A nurse on the ward is off too.

But we still can't get tested.

Former Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt says tests for NHS staff need to be rolled out more quickly. Credit: PA

We are running out of protective equipment on the ward.

What we are being asked to use is not enough and does not protect us from the virus.

This puts our lives and those of our patients at risk.

We are not immune to the virus: doctors and nurses have died in China, and in Italy, even young ones.

There are already doctors who are critically ill in the US.

A paramedic in Scotland told ITV News they need the sort of protection on the left of the image, but they are using the equipment on the right.

We need full gowns not aprons, proper masks, and eye protection, proper protective equipment to international standards, not just what's left.

Without effective protective equipment, I am scared of getting infected and infecting my patients.

If I am infected or carry the infection on my uniform, I could spread the disease to others in the hospital - the sickest and the most vulnerable of our patients.

Why gamble with our lives and our patients' lives like that?

Who will take care of our patients when we fall sick or die when we are already so short of staff?

We are supposed to carry on working even after we are exposed to the virus.

We will not even know if we have Covid-19 unless we become very ill as there are not enough tests for healthcare workers.

NHS staff have undergone training for outbreaks like the coroanvirus. Credit: PA

Please protect us so we can fulfill our duties.

Healthcare workers are a critical resource and the hardest to replace in a time of need - our training takes years, even decades.

Who will be left to stop this epidemic if we are not protected?

Spread is not inevitable - we can learn from other countries which have brought the outbreak under control.

We are willing to do all we can and cannot do so without the right protection and support.