A Newcastle GP has raised concerns about inadequate personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers, particularly for those expected to go on home visits.
Dr Alison George who spoke to ITV News Tyne Tees on Tuesday, says that although we're all very aware that doctors, nurses and other health care staff working in intensive case units and accident and emergency departments are exposed to a high viral load, the risks to people in primary care have not been discussed enough.
Viral load relates to the number of viral particles being carried by an infected individual and shed into the environment.
Dr George says there are lots of risks associated with going into people's homes as well as care homes:
Dr George says the risk is that particles can get passed onto the the next person being visited:
Dr George would like to see primary care workers wearing gowns for home visits, which she says would protect not only those on the frontline, but their patients and families at home.
Because of Dr George's concerns about adequate PPE, she has decided to stop home visits:
Although they are not able to comment on individual cases, Public Health England said it would encourage any GP or health provider with concerns to contact them.
A spokesperson for Public Health England North East said:
Public Health England guidance advises:
Any clinician working in a hospital, primary care or community care setting within two metres of a suspected or confirmed coronavirus COVID-19 patient should wear an apron, gloves, surgical mask and eye protection, based on the riskMore detail on what PPE to use in different clinical scenarios as well as community settings, such as care homes and caring for individuals in their own homes.
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