Doctors and nurses in England should be asked to treat patients with coronaviruses without fully protective coats and to reuse the equipment due to fears of shortage.
On Friday, the decision came in a reversal of directives to Public Health England hospitals.
Earlier this week, the BBC announced that the plan was considered a “last resort.”
This comes as NHS providers warned that supplies from some hospitals could run out in 24 hours.
Chris Hopson, head of the association, which represents health trusts across England, said in a tweet: “We have now reached the point where the national stock of fully repellant coats and long-sleeved lab coats will be exhausted within the next twenty-four to forty-eight hours. “
He said national leaders have left “no unreturned stones” – but the dresses that were ordered weeks ago are only arriving by “pushes”.
Public Health England has changed its guidelines, which previously required long-sleeved, disposable, water-repellent gowns for people who treat Covid-19 patients.
Now it is said that if these coats are not available, staff can wear washable medical coats or non-repellant equipment.
BBC documents indicate measures were considered earlier this week to deal with “acute shortages”
This is due to the fact that the UK on Thursday recorded 847 new coronavirus-related deaths in hospitals, bringing the total to 14,576.
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A spokesperson for the Ministry of Health said, “New clinical advice has been released today to ensure that when there is a shortage in one area, front line staff know which PPE to wear instead. minimize risks ”.
And Health Secretary Matt Hancock said he “would like to be able to wield a magic wand” to increase the supply of personal protective equipment (PPE).
“But given that we have a global situation where there is less PPE in the world than what the world needs, it will obviously be a huge pressure point,” he told a virtual committee of deputies.
Hancock admitted the supply of dresses was “tight” but said he was aiming to get enough dresses for staff this weekend.
He added that the government was doing everything it could “to put this PPE on the front line.”
Dr. Rob Harwood, chair of the British Medical Association’s consultant committee, said: “If staff are to be reused, it must be demonstrated by science and the best evidence – rather than availability – and that absolutely cannot compromise the protection of health care. workers.
“Too many health professionals have already died. More doctors and their colleagues cannot be expected to put their own lives on the line to save others, and this new advice means they could do just that. It is not a decision they should have to make. “
At least 50 NHS workers have died after contracting a coronavirus.
Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth said, “Week after week, we hear about PPE issues coming to the fore despite what ministers tell us at Downing Street press conferences .
“This ongoing failure must be corrected and the ministers must explain how they will repair it urgently. “
In other developments: