NHS staff asked to treat patients without gowns | News from the world

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Advising staff to use aprons rather than overalls risks major confrontation with staff groups. Last week, the Royal College of Nursing made it clear that nurses should refuse to treat patients if they were not satisfied that the level of PPE available would protect them properly. The British Medical Association, which represents doctors, also warned that the lives of doctors were threatened by PPE stocks which had reached “dangerously low levels”.

The shortage of gowns in hospitals in England is much worse than what Secretary of Health Matt Hancock admitted, according to hospital bosses. “We are tight on the dresses. This is the pressure point right now, “Hancock told deputies of the select health and social services committee during a testimony session on Friday morning.

He said: “We have 55,000 other dresses arriving today and we are working on the international acquisition of more dresses, but it is a challenge. This follows changes to the guidelines 10 days ago, which increased advice on the use of gowns, but also stated that they should be used for session use rather than for patient use. individual… And it is a big challenge to respond to these new guidelines and we are doing everything we can. “

He could not guarantee that each hospital would have the supplies needed to cope with this weekend.

The Secretary of Health sought to reassure the deputies by stressing that 55,000 more dresses were to arrive on Friday. However, that equates to about eight hours of supply, since the huge number of Covid-19s in the hospital means that the NHS currently uses 150,000 lab coats a day.

Only “tens of thousands” remain in the NHS reserve stock, sources say. “The dresses are indeed already sold out,” said one. “The situation is so dire that some trusts will run out today and others over the weekend.”

Ed Davey, the interim leader of the Liberal Democrats, warned that the downgrading of PPE advice by PHE could kill more people. “Changing official guidelines for protective gear from dresses to aprons means increased risk for front-line workers, at a time when the number of Covid-19 deaths is already increasing for front-line workers. It is intolerable, “he said.

“The repeated assurances from the Secretary of Health that the supply of protective kits for the staff was under control now seem to have been completely stripped down. Matt Hancock should have been completely frank about the level of personal protective equipment, but he is now quickly losing public confidence as the reality of serious shortages becomes clear, “added Davey.

So far, at least 50 doctors, nurses, midwives, carriers, and other NHS staff have died from the coronavirus, the Guardian said.

PHE is being prepared for a reaction from medical and nursing organizations. However, some senior NHS England officials were “exasperated” about PHE’s previous stipulation that personnel in high-risk Covid-19 environments should wear full PPE, including a lab coat, and considered this to be “excessive “

NHS leaders and Hancock have been desperately trying to find a solution to the shortage of gowns since the Guardian first pointed out an internal memo from NHS chiefs last Thursday warning hospital chiefs that there were no immediate stocks of dresses due in the chain for the next few days and we don’t know when new deliveries will be made ”.

More than a week later, they were forced to craft the controversial new direction, which is a tacit admission that the shortages should continue.

NHS providers, who represent the trusts, said hospitals would implement the new guidelines. “The supply of clinical coats is now critical, and it is now clear that some trusts will run out of fully water-repellent coats,” he said.

Saffron Cordery, the organization’s deputy director general, said: “The trusts and the National Strategic Reserve have been very careful in managing the last remaining stock and the trusts have helped each other as much as possible. They used the remaining stock of jumpsuits as alternatives to dresses and deployed their stock of dresses very carefully.

“We understand that the new recommendations … are aligned with the World Health Organization guidelines on the use of PPE when they are scarce.

“Trusted leaders will now implement this plan wherever it is needed and will therefore use the highest possible level of alternative protective equipment, such as a flame retardant blouse, as opposed to a water repellant, combined with an apron” , she added.

The British Medical Association said that using aprons instead of dresses would increase the risks for front-line staff.

Dr. Rob Harwood, Chairman of the BMA Consultants Committee, said: “The Secretary of Health and Human Services admitted today that he cannot guarantee that the supplies of dresses will not run out this week weekend, and this now illustrates the dire situation that some doctors and healthcare workers find themselves in.

“If staff are now asked to use aprons instead of dresses, this goes directly against evidence and guidelines from Public Health England and the World Health Organization. Tips to help healthcare workers and their patients stay safe.

“Too many health professionals are already dead. We cannot expect more doctors and their colleagues 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. “

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs 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 to minimize risk. This has been reviewed by the Health and Safety Executive and complies with the WHO and CDC guidelines for the use of PPE in exceptional circumstances. “

New PHE guidelines confirm that wearing “non-repellable disposable gowns / coveralls with a disposable plastic apron for high risk environments and aerosol generating procedures [sch as intubation] with forearm washing after the gown / jumpsuit is removed “is one of the alternatives that staff should deploy when the gowns are worn out.

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