Nurse urges Government to provide more PPE in fight against coronavirus

A nurse said she is treating coronavirus patients with a "knot in her stomach" amid fears of infection.

Concerns have been raised by healthcare professionals about personal protective equipment (PPE) in the battle against coronavirus.

Doctors and nurses, who are on the frontline in the fight against coronavirus, have reported shortages of protective equipment, but there are also worries about whether GPs and pharmacists are getting the necessary protection they need.

The A&E nurse urged the Department of Health to intervene to ensure workers are better protected from Covid-19.

Speaking on the condition of anonymity to BBC Northern Ireland's Nolan Show, she said the World Health Organisation's recommended medical masks, gown, gloves and eye protection feels insufficient.

"These masks are like paper masks with an attached face shield on them, they are not seal-proof masks; we were fit-tested several months ago to wear respirator masks, FFP3 masks, which we're now not getting to wear at all," she said.

"They are sealed masks which are fit tested to ensure there is a correct sealed fit on our face, they cover the nose and the mouth and they ensure that no droplet is going to get in through the mask that we could inhale in."

It comes amid the death of GP Dr Habib Zaidi, who passed away in Southend hospital.

Although not confirmed, it is believed the 76-year-old may be the first doctor in the UK to die from Covid-19.

Essex GP Dr Habib Zaidi is believed to be the first GP to die from the virus in the UK. Credit: NHS Southend CCG

His daughter, Dr Sarah Zaidi, also a GP, said he showed "textbook symptoms" of the virus.

In a statement, the leader of Southend-on-Sea Borough Council, Cllr Ian Gilbert, said: “We are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Dr Zaidi. Dr Zaidi and his family are well known and well-loved within the community, and it is with great sadness we learned of his passing.

“Our thoughts are with his family at this incredibly difficult time.”

NHS England documents admit the global demand for protective equipment has created difficulties for the health service.

It added: "Government, NHS Supply Chain, and the NHS are doing everything to work with industry to secure additional supplies and manufacture further PPE."

PHE guidelines on how healthcare professionals should put on their PPE. Credit: PHE

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has enlisted the army to ensure provisions are delivered to hospitals to keep staff safe.

Last Thursday, 2.6 million face masks and 10,000 hand sanitisers were delivered to trusts in London - the area hardest hit by coronavirus.

On Friday, 150 hospital trusts will be delivered more PPE, with more due on the weekend.

The PPE kit recommended to deal with suspected or confirmed coronavirus patients includes FFP3 respirator face mask, a long sleeved disposable gown, gloves and eye protection.

Further guidance has been given to healthcare staff on when to wear different types of mask. Credit: PHE

All PPE when encountering a confirmed Covid-19 patient should be disposed of after a single use and put into clinical waste. Instructions on how to but the protective equipment on has been published on the Government website.

Every GP practice, dental practice and community pharmacy should have had a PPE delivery, NHS England says.

All care homes, hospices, and home care providers should have a PPE delivery, and these began last week.

Pharmacists should also have been delivered PPE. Credit: PA

Amid fears over NHS staff shortages, the head of the Doctors’ Association UK said existing staff may feel forced to leave because they do not have adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) to safely treat Covid-19 patients.

Chairman Dr Rinesh Parmar gave the warning as the Government urges recruitment of medical staff, including asking those who have recently left to return to help cope with the pandemic.

He told The Guardian: “The longer this epidemic goes on for, if doctors feel that there is a widespread lack of personal protective equipment, then some doctors may feel they have no choice but to give up the profession they love because they feel so abandoned by not being given the PPE that the World Health Organisation recommends.

“That’s the travesty of this situation – that the Government needs to protect frontline health workers and in return they will give 100%.

“But the Government hasn’t kept its side of the bargain with NHS staff by not having enough PPE available to safeguard the health of doctors and nurses.”

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