The government “will stop at nothing to wear protective equipment for front line staff of the NHS,” according to the Secretary of Health.
Matt Hancock, who ended self-isolation today after suffering from the symptoms of Covid-19, has vowed to get doctors “the right equipment.”
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Speaking at the Downing Street press conference, Hancock said, “I come back redoubled in my determination to fight this virus with everything I have.
“I will stop at nothing to make sure front-line staff have the right equipment to be safe and have the confidence they need to do their jobs. “
It follows an uproar over the lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) – including masks, gloves, gowns and glasses – on the NHS front line.
I will stop at nothing to make sure front line staff have the right equipment to be safe
There have even been cases where doctors, healthcare facilities and hospitals have been forced to buy their own PPE due to the international shortage.
Some say they were even threatened with retaliation if they expressed their concerns.
This prompted 5,000 doctors to sign a letter saying they felt like “slaughter lambs” and “cannon fodder” because of the shortage.
In response, the government today strengthened its PPE guidelines covering NHS workers in hospitals, general practitioners and dental offices, as well as those working in nursing homes and providing home care. .
He indicated that when staff provide direct patient care within a two meter radius to a confirmed or suspected Covid-19 person, they should carry the appropriate kit.
Previously, the kit was only required if staff were working within one meter of a confirmed or suspected case.
The guidelines emphasize that when “the potential risk to health and social service workers cannot be established” before caring for a patient, wear aprons, surgical masks, eye protection and gloves.
In primary care, the recommendations do not recommend general practitioners to use PPE for all patient contact, but suggest that it may be necessary based on “local risk assessment”.
General receptionists who chat with people within two meters are asked to wear a disposable mask.
The guide makes no changes to the actual kit to wear in hospitals, noting that the World Health Organization (WHO) has approved the guide as meeting its standards.
The new directive states that even if gloves and aprons must be discarded after one use, masks and goggles can be used for a work session.
The dresses can also be worn for a work session in high-risk areas, he says.
The UK-wide guidelines have been approved by the UK’s four chief medical officers, chief nurses and dentists.
He says the WHO recommends the use of FFP2 masks for aerosol-generating procedures, such as dental drilling, patient intubation and surgery, but “the UK has gone further and recommended the use of FFP3 masks ”.
However, the FFP2 masks can be used if the FFP3 masks are not available.
Dr Yvonne Doyle, medical director of Public Health England said: “Protecting our colleagues on the NHS on the front lines is vitally important.
Our standards are among the highest in the world and conform to what WHO recommends
Dr Yvonne Doyle
“These updated guidelines provide a greater degree of clarity so that NHS clinicians who care for patients feel confident in the PPE they should be wearing.
“Our standards are among the highest in the world and are in line with what WHO recommends in the circumstances and environments with the highest risk of transmission. “
As part of the review, the Health and Safety Executive concluded that aprons offer a level of protection similar to the gowns recommended by the WHO and that FFP2 respirators offer protection against Covid-19.
Niall Dickson, Executive Director of the NHS Confederation, which represents organizations in the health care sector, said: “We cannot underestimate the loss of confidence among key frontline staff on this issue – advice from ‘today are absolutely necessary and we very much hope that this will be an important step towards restoring confidence.
“Aside from the detail, two points are essential – it has support from WHO, and it was produced with input from infection control experts across the UK, and royal medical colleges, trade unions and professional organizations. “
But he said that “the orientation is not the complete answer,” adding “that there have been real problems with the distribution, and we have been assured that they are being treated and, to be honest, in many places that happen.
“But any remaining supply chain problems must be dealt with immediately.
“We have been promised that an Amazon-style distribution will be operational in a few days, allowing every doctor’s office, nursing home and hospital to order what they need and get it delivered quickly. “
Dr. Chaand Nagpaul, President of the British Medical Association (BMA), said: “It has been four days since Minister Robert Jenrick gave assurances that no front line personnel should work without the proper protective equipment .
“Yet this week the BMA received concerns from doctors from more than 30 hospital trusts about the lack of PPE supplies and general practitioners across England who have not yet received eye protection.
“The doctors are put in a painful position. Faced with a national emergency, they are determined to meet the immense challenges that lie ahead and save lives.
“However, the lack of PPE supply risks not only compromising the health of doctors, but also transforming them into vectors of infection and potentially transforming them into super-diffusers, transporting the virus to non-Covid patients 19 after patient. “
As of today, 2,921 people have been confirmed deceased in hospital after being tested positive for coronavirus in the UK at 5 p.m. Wednesday.
The youngest person to die without an underlying health problem was 25 years old.
The total was up 569 from 2,352 the previous day and the largest daily increase so far, just above the 563 reported the previous day.
Coronavirus test: What is the difference between antigen and antibody tests?
Coronavirus testing is essential to gain a better idea of and control the scale of the epidemic in the UK.
In recent days, much has been said about the two different types of tests that the government is implementing.
The government calls them the “do you have” antigen test or the “did you have” antibody test.
Here we explain the difference between the two …
What is an antigen test?
Antigens are found on the surface of invading pathogens, including the coronavirus.
Antigen testing can determine if a person is currently a carrier of the virus and is actively infectious.
The NHS is currently using antigen tests in hospitals to determine if a person is currently infected with Covid-19.
Samples are taken using a cotton swab – which looks like a large cotton swab – from the depths of the nose and throat before being sent to the laboratory for testing.
Most laboratories use a method called polymerase chain reaction (PCR), which takes several hours to obtain a result.
Labs can take days to run tests and communicate results to users.
Several companies are working on ways to speed up this type of testing.
What is an antibody test?
When a person is infected with an antigen, the body begins to make specially designed proteins called antibodies in response – as a way to fight the infection.
After recovering, these antibodies float in the blood for months or even years.
This is how the body defends itself in case it becomes infected with the virus again.
So an antibody test specifically looks for antibodies that will be able to tell if you’ve ever been exposed to Covid-19.
Anyone who has ever had the disease is presumed to be immune to recurrence – at least in the medium term.
This would allow them to return to work safely, knowing that they are unlikely to be infected again or to spread the virus.
The control that was developed for Covid-19 is a finger prick blood test, with the samples sent to the laboratories and the results available within a few days.
General practitioner and resident physician on Good Morning Britain, Dr. Hilary Jones, said that it works “almost like a pregnancy test, except that you need a drop of blood.”
These tests are developed by several different companies and Public Health England (PHE) is also working on its own test.
They still need to be validated to ensure they give accurate results.
Meanwhile, number 10 said work is continuing with nine potential suppliers on the development of an antibody test that will show if people have got the virus.
Such a test would allow people to get back to work quickly and some experts say this type of test is the quickest way out of the current lockout.
The Prime Minister’s spokesman said, “We are working as quickly as possible on this point and as soon as a test is approved, we will announce it publicly.”
He said the government had previously been offered tests that had not reached the required levels of precision “and therefore would not be safe to use.”
It has also been suggested that immunity certificates to identify people who have had a coronavirus be considered by the government.
The Prime Minister’s spokesman said it had been discussed in other countries and that the United Kingdom was closely following what had happened.
This follows fierce criticism of testing policy, with the UK not having reached a target of 10,000 tests per day in the past few days.
The latest test figures show that 10,657 tests were carried out on Tuesday, the health ministry tweeted.
Some 2,800 NHS staff have now been tested for coronavirus at drive-in facilities.
Professor Paul Cosford, former medical director of Public Health England (PHE), admitted that “everyone involved is frustrated” with the low number of tests performed.
He highlighted ongoing capacity issues and said the “top priority” so far has been to test hospital patients with suspected Covid-19.
PHE has focused on NHS testing labs, while other work is being done by the Office of Life Sciences to collaborate with universities and non-PHE labs, he said. .
Prof. Cosford said that five NHS staff test centers were operational and that “four more are slated to go into service this week”.
Tests will reach 15,000 a day “imminently,” he said, adding, “It will be 25,000 by mid-April.”
The work of the Office of Life Sciences “to examine a much larger set of universities, industries and other laboratories” will “give us 100,000 or more tests per day,” said Professor Cosford.
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“We certainly have not turned down any help from any laboratory and we have talked to a lot about what might be possible,” he said, but added, “We have to be very careful to make sure that the tests that we use are tests that work. ” “
When asked why it took so long to increase testing, Professor Cosford told Good Morning Britain: “This is an incredibly complex operation to set up in a very short time. “
He added that “24/7 work” was underway to overcome “a whole host of problems” to ensure the tests went smoothly.