NHS was days away from missing vital protection kit


The National Health Service arrived a few days after exhausting key personal protective equipment, according to the worst-case scenario in an internal assessment seen by the Financial Times.

National demand for aprons and a type of surgical face mask is estimated to far exceed supply, according to the April 26 document, which will heighten fears that the UK will not have sufficient equipment to protect personnel from health and care.

Under the heading “days of stock at [national demand estimates]”, The figure indicated for the two articles is zero in the document entitled” Inventory and rate of use of PPE “.

Government officials said the demand figures were only “worst case” estimates. The Ministry of Health and Welfare added: “We do not comment on the leaked papers, but it is not true that we did not have a full day of supply for these items. “

The numbers are likely to have changed during the week since the document was written, as many items will have been distributed, lowering stocks, while others may have been boosted by the arrival of new shipments.

Demand figures may also have been revised, with many hospitals recording reduced admissions as the UK passes the peak of the pandemic.

The document consulted by the FT compared the quantity of PPE products in the national inventory with the NDEs – or estimated need – for each product.

Graphic showing the personal protective equipment specified by Public Health England when working on patients with coronavirus

On April 26, according to the document, the NDE for aprons was 19.7 m, nearly four times more than the quantity available.

For the IIR masks, a waterproof protection that covers the nose and mouth, the NDE was around 4.6m – more than double the amount held, according to data shared with senior government officials.

The document also showed that the NHS only had two days of eye protection – 6.5 m to meet the demand for about 3.5 m – five days of body bags and eight days of FFP3 masks – used to manage confirmed cases of Covid-19 involving aerosols. generate procedures such as attaching a patient to a ventilator.

According to the document, there were 12 days left in gloves – 285 million against an estimated demand of around 23 million.

Dozens of doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals in the UK died during the pandemic, with some families of the victims blaming the loss of PPE.

A British Medical Association survey released on Sunday suggested that almost half of doctors relied on donated or purchased PPE and that two-thirds still did not feel fully protected from the coronavirus.

Demand for protective aprons almost exceeded national supply, documents say © Joel Goodman / LNP

Official guidelines on when different types of PPE should be worn underscore the importance of articles for frontline coronavirus personnel.

“A surgical face mask resistant to fluids (type IIR). . . should be worn whenever a health and social service worker enters or is present in a hospitalization area (for example, a department) containing possible or confirmed Covid-19 cases, whether or not they are involved in direct patient care, “says a document from Public Health England.

“To initiate direct patient care, disposable gloves, aprons and goggles must be worn,” he adds.

On Sunday, Public Health England updated its guidelines to allow a different type of mask, an FFP2, instead of an IIR mask under certain conditions. He said, “This is a pragmatic approach in the event of a severe shortage of respiratory protective equipment.”


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