Two thirds of doctors in Wales do not feel fully protected from coronavirus at work, a British Medical Association Wales survey has found.
It found that 67 per cent of doctors did not feel fully protected, with 60 per cent having to purchase PPE directly, or have relied on PPE supplies being donated.
The survey shows that overall, there has been an improvement in the provision of PPE, but there’s clearly still a lot for the Welsh Government and employers to do to reassure staff. We are calling on Welsh Government to be transparent about supplies. 27% of doctors have reported shortages of gowns with long sleeves, in settings where they are most at risk, caring for the sickest COVID-19 patients. 17% of doctors either failed or had not been fit tested for a FFP3 mask – a mask of this type is used when performing highly infectious medical procedures and which if not properly fitted means a healthcare worker remains at significant risk of becoming infected. It’s unacceptable to compromise their safety in this way.
The BMA Wales survey also found that 33 per cent of doctors 'would not bother to speak up' about issues such as PPE or staffing shortages as they did not think anything would be done about it.
Seven per cent of doctors surveyed also said that they feared speaking out about the issues.
I’m not surprised that doctors feel this way, I’ve heard it from my colleagues first-hand – it’s appalling – Welsh Government must remind employers to encourage staff to raise concerns in the workplace. Staff must feel supported to do so. I’m deeply troubled by the fact that 67% of doctors do not feel fully protected from COVID-19 in their place of work. With one in four reporting worsening mental distress during the pandemic including depression, anxiety and burnout, we are asking Welsh Government and employers to reflect on the results of this survey - and act fast - to protect frontline staff who are putting their lives on the line to keep the people of Wales safe and well, regardless of whether they themselves feel safe or not. It’s important, now more than ever, that they know their mental health is being supported. >
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