A massive NHS recruitment campaign to curb the risk of a coronavirus pandemic is being undermined by the prospect of doctors quitting for fear of inadequate protective equipment, groups that represent front-line workers say.
Health minister Matt Hancock said Tuesday that 11,788 retired NHS workers had agreed to go back to work to deal with the crisis – and announced the creation of a new 250,000-strong NHS Volunteer Responders corps, which would be asked to provide the most vulnerable people who are “shielded” at home with essential goods.
But when the crisis is likely to be at its most dangerous time, groups of doctors and nurses say their members are expected to take unacceptable risks.
Dr. Rinesh Parmar, chair of Doctors’ Association UK, which represents primary care physicians, told the Guardian: “The longer this epidemic continues when doctors feel that there is a widespread lack of personal protective equipment [PPE]Then some doctors may feel they have no choice but to give up the job they love because they feel so abandoned because they don’t get the PSA recommended by the World Health Organization.
“It is the farce of this situation that the government must protect health workers at the forefront and will give 100% in return.” However, the government has failed to negotiate with NHS workers because there is not enough PPE to protect the health of doctors and nurses, ”he said.
The Royal College of Nursing, which represents the 400,000 British nurses, also signaled its deep discomfort at the severe lack of PSA and said the problem could force nurses to choose between their jobs and their safety.
A spokesman said, “Our priority is to ensure that front-line nurses have the masks and equipment they need, but the government and the NHS must be able to adequately serve those who lend a hand in these times To offer protection and security.
“The nursing staff should never be forced to choose between their safety and their livelihood – this equipment has to get to the front.”
A doctor wrote to Parmar on Tuesday: “I have a husband with a weakened immune system. Without PSA, I put him at risk every day. If this is not sorted out soon, I am gone.”
Amid growing reports of NHS staff who ended up in intensive care after Covid-19 illness, Parmar shared testimonials he had received from other doctors over the past 24 hours who were concerned about the lack of protective equipment.
One said: “Without adequate PPE, our workforce will be decimated. Then who has to take care of the patients? Another said, “I feel totally abandoned. We do not have the protective equipment we urgently need, and our children are treated like orphans and sent to nursing homes. “
NHS England and the government have been working hard since the weekend to address safety equipment concerns. The army has been called in to deliver millions of PSA parts since the weekend, and 200 different hospitals receive additional equipment overnight on Tuesday.
Hancock promised Tuesday “to strain every tendon” to ensure that the NHS staff had the equipment they needed.
He acknowledged the problem and said that many employees asked for it – and that more than 7 million PSA had been dispatched in the past 24 hours and that a hotline had been set up that health care workers could contact if they were wearing masks missing or other necessary equipment.
Employees across the NHS expressed growing concern about the widespread lack of equipment, especially face masks and visors, to protect the mouth and eyes from water drops coming from the mouth or nose of an infected patient.
Organizations representing hospital doctors, nurses, paramedics, general practitioners and midwives have expressed concerns about their safety in recent days and have called on ministers and NHS leaders to call the army to deliver millions of protective clothing items to hospitals.
The new concerns came when the death toll from the outbreak with another rose sharply 87 deaths in the UK on 422.
Less than 24 hours after Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged the public to “stay at home,” the Health Minister emphasized the importance of complying with the latest distance rules.
“No matter how big we grow the NHS, if we don’t slow the spread of the virus, as we’ve seen, these numbers will continue to grow – and that’s why it’s so important that everyone follows the advice and stays at home.” he said.
“We ask for your indulgence, but I think the public knows that this is important. The more we adhere to the rules, the sooner we will stop the spread, and therefore everyone has a responsibility to follow these rules. “
Hancock confirmed that the NHS would open a new temporary hospital next week – the NHS Nightingale Hospital at the Excel conference center in London, once the location of the Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s G20 summit at the height of the global financial crisis.
The hospital will have two huge wards that can each accommodate 2,000 people, and the military will help set it up and operate it, said Hancock.
Up to 1.5 million people with health problems that could make them particularly vulnerable to the effects of Covid-19 have received letters this week asking them to stay in their homes for 12 weeks.
Hancock said he was looking for a quarter of a million volunteers to sign up to deliver food and medicine to these “screened” people, take them to medical appointments, and keep in touch by phone.