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Anger As UK Nurses, Doctors Ask To Re-use PPE To Prevent Shortage - News - Nursesarena Forum

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Anger As UK Nurses, Doctors Ask To Re-use PPE To Prevent Shortage by katty : April 18, 2020, 04:29:55 PM
The British Medical Association has condemned new guidance directing doctors and nurses to re-use personal protective equipment (PPE) when treating coronavirus  patients due to a looming shortage.

On Friday, Public Health England tore up its previous guidance on protective equipment, and directed NHS staff to reuse PPE "until confirmation of adequate re-supply is in place" - adding that "some compromise is needed to optimise the supply of PPE in times of extreme shortages".

Previously, healthcare staff have been required to wear long-sleeved disposable fluid repellant gowns, but Chris Hopson, chairman of NHS Providers, warns that some trusts will run out of supplies in the next 24-48 hours as the national stock is exhausted.

If the gowns are not available, clinical staff are now advised to wear "disposable, non-fluid repellent gowns or coveralls" or "washable surgical gowns", with aprons, and to wash their forearms afterwards.

However, this stance has provoked increasing criticism and concern from numerous healthcare bodies, as well as thousands of doctors and nurses on the frontline.

'A betrayal'


BMA consultants committee chairman Dr Rob Harwood said the situation is "a further admission of the dire situation that some doctors and healthcare workers continue to find themselves in because of Government failings."

He added: "Telling staff to use aprons in the place of gowns directly contravenes both Public Health England's previous guidance and that of the World Health Organisation.

"This is guidance that's there to help keep healthcare workers and their patients, out of harms' way.

"If it's being proposed that staff reuse equipment, this must be demonstrably driven by science and the best evidence - rather than availability - and it absolutely cannot compromise the protection of healthcare workers."

Dr Claudia Paoloni, president of the doctors' union HCSA, called the move a "betrayal".

She said: "Gowns and other equipment are an essential part of the protective arsenal not just for Covid-19 positive patients but for many other procedures.

"It is intolerable that safety guidelines are now being weakened to reflect shortages in supply when the Government has had months to prepare for this outbreak.

"There has been ample international evidence of the frightening stresses which the virus has placed on other healthcare systems. There should be no element of surprise."

'Unacceptable, with no scientific evidence'


The Royal College of Nursing chief executive Dame Donna Kinnair said the body was not consulted about the change, adding it was "unacceptable" if PPE was not provided in a healthcare setting.

She said: "Only sound scientific evidence or safety concerns should change the guidance.

"We have written to the HSE in the strongest terms to voice our concerns. Nursing staff need to be afforded proper protection full stop."

A survey by the Royal College of Nursing  (RCN) found half of nurses have felt pressure to work without appropriate protective equipment during the crisis.

Likewise, a British Medical Association (BMA) survey of more than 6,000 doctors across the country revealed a a significant number remain without the protection they need to guard against Covid-19.

One doctor surveyed claimed the current levels of PPE left them feeling as if they were being "thrown to the wolves", while another added they should not be forced to choose between doing their job or keeping themselves and their family safe.

'A truly sorry state of affairs'


Meanwhile, Health Secretary Matt Hancock  has urged more companies to volunteer to manufacture PPE domestically, and confessed he would "love to be able to wave a magic wand" to increase PPE supplies.



BMA council chairman Dr Chaand Nagpaul said: "Two months into the Covid-19 crisis in Britain, we shouldn't still be hearing that doctors feel unprotected when they go to work.

"The Government says that one billion items will soon have been shipped, and while there have been signs of improvement, our research clearly shows that equipment is not reaching all doctors working on the front line.

"This is a truly sorry state of affairs and we renew our call for the Government to work with manufacturers to ramp up domestic supply.

"Too many doctors and healthcare staff have already lost their lives. We cannot afford to risk losing any more."

However, Saffron Cordery, deputy chief executive of NHS Providers, which represents hospital trusts, said it was hoped the disruption to supply would only be short-lived, and that gowns would soon arrive "consistently and reliably rather than in the current fits and starts".

Nevertheless, Niall Dickson, chief executive of the NHS Confederation - a body which claims to speak for the health and care system - told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "I think the worrying situation is absolutely there.

"The reality is that there is a chance...hospitals could run out or, indeed, other parts of the system could run out of the gowns which are required to treat some, not all, Covid patients."

He added: "It's much less than satisfactory."

Source: https://www.google.com/amp/s/inews.co.uk/news/coronavirus-latest-anger-doctos-nurses-calls-re-use-ppe-shortage-2542600%3famp

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