Coronavirus: NHS worker tells ITV News of lack of equipment and urgent need for tests

  • Video report by ITV News Scotland Correspondent Peter Smith

A paramedic working for NHS Scotland during the coronavirus outbreak has told ITV News they are being "put in danger" because of an "absolute shortage of essential equipment".

Speaking under conditions of anonymity, a paramedic in Scotland said they were "at risk of contracting the virus" as a result of the conditions they are working under.

The ambulance worker said there had been "no hand sanitiser for over a week" and yet they were still attending to suspected Covid-19 cases "with nothing to clean our hands".

On the left is what paramedics working for NHS Scotland say they need, on the right is what they are using.

The paramedic said they needed respirator masks, but only have access to "paper surgical masks" and added some face visors are available "but paramedics are told to share them".

Joining calls for Covid-19 testing for NHS staff, the whistleblower told ITV News they "feel let down".

"We're not silly, we know the country has never dealt with anything like this, but we have had a warning from what happened in China.

"This is just starting and we already have an absolute shortage of essential equipment".

The whistleblower told ITV News that patients who should have been transferred to hospital have not been because of guidance not to take suspected coronavirus cases to hospitals.

The GMB Scotland Union said paramedics across the country had experienced similar working conditions.

Gary Smith, from the union, said ambulance crews "have been put in very, very difficult and dangerous positions".

He added: "As we understand it, we now have at least two members of the ambulance service who have been hospitalised".

ITV News Scotland Correspondent Peter Smith puts the claims to Scotland's First Minister and Chief Medical Officer.

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Surgeon told ITV News if details of the case reported were provided she would ensure it was addressed.

While Scotland's Chief Medical Officer, Catherine Calderwood, said NHS Scotland was aware of "concerns flagged" and said they were being addressed.

She added: "There are more supplies in train and I would absolutely echo the First Minister that we want to protect our frontline staff".

Coronavirus: Everything you need to know