NHS physicians will die unless given enough personal protection to fight the coronavirus crisis, the British Medical Association warned today.
The Doctors’ Union denounced the government for expecting frontline workers to continue the pandemic despite not having enough masks, aprons or goggles.
Without personal protection called PPE, the infection will spread and the epidemic will worsen. When doctors get sick, it will cause staff shortages at a time when the NHS is needed more than ever.
It is amid an ongoing argument over not supplying personal protective equipment quickly enough since things started to creep up in mid-February.
Doctors across the country have been forced to “ wear the same scrubs all day long ” or have resorted to cooking aprons and trash bags wrapped around their bodies.
Employees have said they are “terrified” of the consequences, including spreading the deadly virus to family members at home.
While the British population isolates itself indoors to avoid contracting COVID-19, NHS workers enter a “war zone” as thousands of infected patients flood hospitals.
NHS doctors will die unless given enough personal protection to combat the coronavirus crisis, the British Medical Association warned today
Without personal protection called PPE, the infection will spread and the epidemic will worsen. If doctors fall ill, it will cause staff shortages when the NHS is needed more than ever, has been warned. Pictured, doctors in Italy
The BMA’s grim warning follows growing evidence that thousands of GPs and hospital staff are still not getting the kit they need to properly protect themselves and their patients.
The BMA has asked its members how they or coats, masks, aprons and goggles should contact primary care workers.
Reactions show that in general they simply do not receive enough personal protective equipment. If so, it is in very small quantities and is rationed.
A doctor said, “Coughed up all day today by Covid patients. No visors available…. tomorrow I borrow the safety specifications of my nine-year-old who has them in a bag for a science party. I wish this was actually a joke. ‘
Another said, “Since asymptomatic people can spread the virus, 100 percent of patients and staff will be infected within a few weeks, and it will just be bad luck that survives.”
Dr. Chaand Nagpaul, president of the BMA, said international data shows that health workers are at significant risk of contracting COVID-19 and dying.
He said, “A construction worker should not be allowed to work without a helmet and good boots. Not even a beekeeper would inspect a hive without proper protective clothing.
And yet, this government expects NHS personnel to endanger themselves by serious illness or even death, by treating highly contagious COVID-19 patients without wearing proper protection. This is completely unacceptable.
“We are told that trucks send hundreds of boxes of PPE to GPs and hospitals, but that is not the reality for thousands of our members.
“The type of PPE delivered is not in accordance with WHO recommendations.”
NHS staff have been given guidelines on what types of protective equipment to wear and when – those treating coronavirus patients in a general ward should always wear gloves, a mask, and an apron
HOW IS THE TRUSTED NHS STAFF PROTECTED?
Up to 65,000 ex-doctors and nurses are told that “your NHS needs you” to fight the biggest health crisis in over a century.
Anyone who has quit or retired in the past three years is urged by ministers to return to tackle the corona virus.
But at the same time, those who are already on the front lines say they cannot get the right masks and protective equipment to avoid contracting the disease.
People fear that retirees returning to work can be risky because older people are known to die the most if they contract the corona virus, and depriving them of the right equipment can be a recipe for disaster.
One of them said on Twitter: ‘You expect retired doctors and nurses to do the same [be] kamikaze pilots, they are most at risk. ‘
Another said, “What could possibly go wrong?”
Emails going out this morning reflect Lord Kitchener’s Your Country Needs You World War I recruitment poster.
Staff may immediately re-enroll in the General Medical Council, the physician’s professional watchdog or the Nursing and Midwifery Council, the equivalent for nurses.
NHS officials have not given a figure on the number of former doctors and nurses they expect to bring back, but last week health secretary Matt Hancock said he hoped to “ get as many as possible. ”
All returning employees are paid in full based on the amount of time they can work and receive short training and introduction. The NHS also allows some of the most experienced doctors and nurses to join the frontline.
Those in the final year of their degree are allowed to take up paid roles without having to pass their final exam.
Last week, the BMA told doctors to go to a hardware store or even desperately look for construction sites for some form of protective equipment.
Dr. Nagpaul said, “General practitioners in many parts of England have been told to buy their own shares, only to discover that none are available. In Cumbria, general practices went to Wickes to try to secure masks. ‘
The sheer magnitude of the problem has come to light after doctors have written dozens to the BMA.
A hospital doctor said, “We are asked to risk our lives and those of our loved ones in thin paper masks and plastic aprons. I don’t know if I can do it.
“I just don’t know if I can do it. I don’t think it’s fair to expect this from us. I’m terrified. How can this risk be justified for practitioners, other patients, practitioner families? ‘
“My husband is not a doctor and I cry every day because I think I’m going to infect him.”
The BMA begged the government to declare where the PPE they have promised for so long is.
The Deputy Chief Medical Officer for England said today that PPE was “at the top of her work list.”
Jenny Harries said, “I know there were a few distribution issues at the beginning because we’ve never dealt with this type of question in our healthcare before.
“We’ve lined up with the military to help with distribution, and I know that new supplies have arrived in all hospitals this week, including at night to make sure they reach the front line. ‘
Dr. Nagpaul said, “It is time for the government to be transparent about the level of supplies we actually have and how they can provide health workers with the level of protection they need.
“We know of hundreds, if not thousands, of doctors and frontline workers who risk their health and life every hour of the day looking after Covid-19 patients, and they shouldn’t be without proper protection.”
An NHS employee identified himself only when Lorraine said that doctors entered a “war zone” because of the lack of personal protective equipment because the disease’s “tsunami” struck.
She said her manager had sent staff a message the day before asking them to share masks that would be ridden with others’ bacteria.
Lorraine said on Good Morning Britain today: ‘We are entering a war zone’
A paramedic is seen above without protective equipment, while doctors and nurses are seen behind him with the face mask and scrubs
Lorraine said today on Good Morning Britain: “We are entering a war zone. This is definitely something I hope we will never have to experience again … ever again. But if we do that, I hope we are better prepared.
NHS NURSE IN A CRITICAL STATE WITH COVID-19
A 36-year-old ‘fit and healthy’ nurse on the frontline of the fight against the coronavirus is in critical condition following the diagnosis of the disease, her devastated family revealed on March 22.
Areema Nasreen, a mother of three, tested positive for the virus after developing high temperature, body aches, and coughing.
The nurse, who has no underlying health issues and has worked for the NHS for 16 years, was taken to Walsall Manor Hospital in the West Midlands after her condition worsened.
She is now on a ventilator in intensive care – she is being cared for by the doctors she usually works next to.
Areema’s sister is now urging people to take the disease seriously – she says, “It’s not just the elderly who are at risk.”
Kazeema said, “My sister, a great nurse on the front line and always helping so much, has now contracted this virus. She is seriously ill in intensive care, is on a ventilator and is fighting for her life.
“Her temperature wouldn’t drop and her cough was so bad it affected her lungs.
“She was eventually taken to hospital and tested her two days ago. It came back positive and now she is in the intensive care unit of Manor Hospital.
Areema loves the NHS. Her colleagues are like a second family and they were really great with her – and us. They keep us all strong and do everything they can for her. ‘
“We are afraid, of course we are afraid, but we still walk through those doors.
“Because that’s why we got into this job, as nurses and as doctors and as health workers, carriers, cleaning staff, staff to ensure we are fed and watered.”
NHS medics working across the UK who are fighting the coronavirus pandemic may be forced to ‘give up the profession’ they love because of the risks.
Dr. Rinesh Parmar, President of the Doctor’s Association UK, told the Guardian that if doctors find that there is no longer enough PPE equipment, they have no choice but to ‘give up the profession they love.’
It comes after the government announced it would open a new hospital in the ExCel center in London to help deal with the outbreak.
The government also announced it would seek over 250,000 new volunteers to help with the outbreak. The urge to recruit has since been undermined by doctors and nurses already working, claiming that they are still expected to take ‘unacceptable risks’.
But the news raised concerns about how the government will provide personal protective equipment to volunteers and the new London hospital.
Dr. Lisa Anderson said on BBC Radio 4 today that she not only does her normal job as a cardiology professional, but also assists in the coronavirus departments.
“Patients I saw coughing yesterday, they are covered in sweat and I wear the same blues all day, there is a real shortage of blues and you have to wear the same all day.
“I have patients sweat there, I can’t do anything, then I go to my other patients.
Dr. Rinesh Parmar (pictured above) said people could leave the profession they love if equipment shortages persist
An ambulance service member wears personal protective equipment and guides a patient (unseen) to an ambulance at St Thomas’ Hospital in London on March 24, 2020
“We desperately fire our patients to get them out of the hospital, the covid negative patients, and I discharge them not only to their own homes, but also to nursing homes, rehabilitation centers and prisons, the consequences of which are enormous. ‘
Dr. Parmar added that health professionals do not get the PPE recommended by the WHO.
“WHO’s recommendations for most Covid patients are a full dress, a visa mask and gloves, we come with short gloves, a small plastic apron and a surgical face mask, it is completely inadequate.
“Our virologist was told yesterday that because of the displacement of air in our Covid wards, we have to hang the virus in the air all the time and try to carry some kind of visa. We do not have a visa, it is not government for us to have a visa. ‘
Dr. Anderson said the government is “going to walk on the brink and endanger health workers.”
“We know that in Italy, when they didn’t have enough PPE, 10 percent of the entire workforce was infected. That risk is far too great to take, this is not a trivial disease. ‘
“But the government has not kept to the NHS staff’s agreement by not having enough personal protective equipment available to protect the health of doctors and nurses.”
A spokesman for the Ministry of Health and Social Care said: “We are working around the clock to provide the social care sector and the wider NHS with the equipment and support they need to tackle this outbreak.
“We have supplied millions of personal protective equipment (PPE) for first-line workers in care homes, home care providers and hospices, as well as in hospitals, ambulance trusts, general practices and pharmacists.
“The full weight of the government is behind this effort, and we are working closely with industry, aid workers, the NHS and the military to ensure that the right equipment continues to be supplied.”