Coronavirus: Paramedics facing "unneccessary risk" due to lack of protective equipment

Paramedics across the South have issued an urgent appeal to the government for more personal protective equipment (PPE) to help them in the fight against the coronavirus.

Unions in Sussex say that they were supplied with more masks after first highlighting a lack of resources.

But as much as half of this was out of date and unsafe.

The government says it is doing more to step up deliveries of vital PPE.

  • WATCH: Andy Dickenson reports on the challenges facing paramedics and other frontline staff

The GMB union says that many paramedics are arriving at work to find they are being giving faulty testing equipment and lacking basic hygiene tools like hand sanitiser or disinfectant wipes.

“Our hardworking ambulance members will always put the patients first - but they shouldn’t have to unnecessarily risk their lives to do so."

Rachel Harrison, GMB Union
Credit: PA

One paramedic in East Sussex was so concerned about the possibility of spreading the infection to his family that he has moved to a caravan for the duration of the outbreak.

Danny Hughes, from Polegate, said he took the decision so he could keep working while keeping his loved ones safe.

The 28-year-old said: "We come into contact with patients who potentially have the coronavirus on a daily basis - whether that is the potential to have it or those who are confirmed as having Covid-19,"

"I wanted to put that step forward and protect my family."

Health minister Edward Argar says the government understands staff concerns and is working to address them. Credit: UK Parliament

The government says it is pushing hard to make sure that NHS staff and careworkers on the frontline have the equipment they need.

Speaking on Thursday (26 March), health minister Edward Argar insisted that PPE deliveries are being increased.

"We entirely understand how important it is that (frontline staff) get thekit that you need and feel safe and are safe in doing this amazing work that you are doing," he said.

Mr Argar said in the last few days the government had delivered 24 millionpairs of protective gloves, along with 13 million protective face masks.

CORONAVIRUS: Everything you need to know