COVIC-19: Some UK hospitals will run out of fully protective gowns ‘within 24 hours’
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Some NHS trusts are going to run out of fully protective gowns within the next 24 to 48 hours, with thousands of doctors and nurses voicing concerns about inadequate supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE).
NHS Providers, which represents hospital trusts, says supplies of long-sleeved disposable fluid repellent gowns have been exhausted despite remaining stock being “carefully allocated” to the hospitals most in danger of running out.
On Friday, Public Health England changed its guidance – asking doctors and nurses to work without full-length gowns and to reuse items – but the updated stance has drawn criticism from several healthcare bodies.The British Medical Association has warned that doctors and nurses should not be asked to “put their lives on the line” to save others, and said PHE’s decision was “a further admission of the dire situation that some doctors and healthcare workers continue to find themselves in because of government failings”.
Dr Rob Harwood, who chairs the BMA’s consultants committee, said: “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.”
The Royal College of Nursing echoed these concerns and claimed it was not consulted about the change in guidance, adding it was “unacceptable” if PPE was not provided in a healthcare setting.
At least 50 NHS workers have now died after contracting coronavirus.