“We need everyone to treat PPE as the precious resource that it is,” he said on Friday. “Everyone should use the equipment they need clinically, as directed: no more no less.”
After weeks of criticism of the lack of vital equipment, Hancock told the daily Downing Street briefing that a “Herculean effort” is underway to ensure that every health and social worker treating the coronavirus the equipment he needs.
The government does not recommend the widespread use of protective masks to slow the spread of disease, and Hancock has warned the public against excessive use of protective equipment.
He reiterated that hand washing, social distancing, and staying at home are the best ways to avoid infection. “A front door is better than any face mask,” he said.
Hancock and chief nurse Ruth May declined to give a number on the number of people who died after contracting the virus.
The Secretary of Health said that a nationwide delivery system had been put in place, with the help of the armed forces, to distribute masks, aprons and other equipment to 58,000 healthcare providers .
He said: “We had to create a whole new logistics network, essentially from the ground up. Within a week, each NHS hospital would receive daily deliveries, he added.
Phantom Health Secretary Jon Ashworth welcomed the promise that more PPE would reach the front line but urged Hancock to make sure his goal was reached.
Ashworth said, “This is not the first time that ministers have made big promises to NHS and social services personnel regarding PPE. But there is a disconnect between the statements made at the Downing Street press conferences and the realities faced by health and healthcare workers on the ground.
“Staff have been raising the lack of PPE for weeks. We hope that today’s government plans will provide the adequate PPE supplies that our brave health workers deserve. “
Doctors and nurses leaders have criticized Hancock’s plan as inadequate, given the increasing number of deaths of NHS staff from the coronavirus.