NHS staff should be able to treat virus patients with only plastic aprons for protection as long dresses run out this weekend
- Reports suggest that 60 NHS trusts expected to use up their supply of coats
- New guidelines may mean that NHS personnel may only need to wear plastic aprons for PPE
- It’s a significant reversal from previous PHE guidelines, which required full-length waterproof surgical gowns for all high-risk hospital procedures
Doctors could be forced to treat virus patients with only plastic aprons for protection, as supplies of long dresses are running out this weekend.
New guidelines were issued last night amid reports that at least 60 NHS trusts expected to deplete their stock of dresses.
This includes all hospitals in London, which are said to urgently deliver tens of thousands of gowns. The Public Health England guidelines set out what frontline personnel should do when there are no dresses left.
Options include borrowing from other hospitals with supplies, wearing overalls, or using the thin plastic aprons.
NHS personnel may be asked to treat patients wearing only plastic aprons for PPE
It is a significant reversal from previous PHE guidelines, which required full-length waterproof surgical gowns for all high-risk hospital procedures.
The move raises fears that more doctors and nurses will be infected due to a lack of personal protective equipment (PPE).
At least 50 NHS employees have died from the virus. Among them is urologist Abdul Mabud Chowdhury, 53, who had warned that a lack of personal protective equipment would endanger physicians. The guideline has been drawn up in response to ‘acute shortages of PPE’.
It said the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) had approved the reuse of items and ‘sessional’ use – with one healthcare provider using the same PPE for an entire shift.
It said that while items are designed for single use, “HSE recognizes that a compromise is needed to optimize the delivery of PPE in times of extreme shortages.”
It comes after health secretary Matt Hancock admitted he couldn’t guarantee hospitals won’t run out this weekend. At a briefing yesterday, Mr Hancock said that 55,000 dresses are still to come, but he admitted that the UK was ‘tight’ when it comes to supplies.
He told the Commons Health Select Committee, “The challenge of getting protective equipment for everyone who needs it is incredibly difficult. As of this weekend, we’ve shipped a billion personal protective equipment across the UK.
I take the responsibility to make PPE known to everyone. “When asked if he would get dresses for those who needed them this weekend, he said,” That’s what we want to achieve. ” Almost all of the dresses used by the NHS are made in China and the Far East.
The UK needs about 150,000 a day which means the 55,000 that will arrive yesterday is only about eight hours. They must be made of water-resistant material and have long sleeves.
Yesterday, it turned out that a hospital trustee was so desperate that he called the BBC requesting phone numbers for Burberry and Barbour. He said his confidence, in the Southeast, had “less than 24 hours” in stock [with the] coming weekend ‘was very concerned.
A survey by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) found that half of the 14,000 nurses on duty at Easter – including those in the most at-risk areas – were under pressure to work without PPE.
Nearly a third of the nursing staff treating Covid-19 patients who did not use respirators reported a lack of face and eye protection, while only half believed they rubbed enough alcohol by hand.
One in ten nurses relied on face or eye protection they had bought or homemade.
RCN CEO Donna Kinnair said: “All decision-makers involved here should urgently get a handle on the situation. The nursing staff must be protected. ‘