The BMJ and the British Medical Association (BMA) have launched a campaign to highlight the lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers on the frontline in the covid-19 outbreak and call for them to be given the appropriate level of protection.
The BMJ’s Editor in Chief, Dr Fiona Godlee said: ‘For healthcare staff on the front line of the covid-19 pandemic, work has suddenly become a frightening place.
‘There is real and justified fear about personal safety, fuelled by a scandalous lack of personal protective equipment.’
The campaign calls for sufficient quality and quantity of PPE to be available in each clinical setting, and will push governments to act to give staff what they need and want to make them feel safe.
UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis has also written to Boris Johnson demanding he takes action to ensure all hospitals, care homes, police forces and council services have the sanitiser, gowns, masks and gloves needed to keep staff safe.
While a support worker, who wished to remain anonymous, told Social Care Today that her employer had failed to provide her team with hand sanitiser and had suggested they buy their own masks from the builders merchant.
The BMJ is inviting readers to share examples of what protection they do or don’t have, as well as stories of what they’ve had to do to source PPE – via social media using the hashtag #properPPE.
UNISON is setting up a hotline to allow public service workers to share their concerns about PPE, so the critical issues can be raised with ministers.
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