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NEWS: PM fails to reassure doctors over safety

by in Coronavirus, GP Practice Management, News

Practice staff have gone shopping in DIY stores amid continuing shortages of protective equipment, the government has been warned.

The British Medical Association yesterday led the continued outpouring of concern from doctors about the inadequacy of protective equipment. Prime Minister Boris Johnson sought to reassure the profession, speaking in the House of Commons yesterday.

BMA chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul said: “We are being asked to risk our lives, and our loved ones’ lives, in flimsy paper masks and plastic aprons. I just don’t know if I can. I don’t think it is fair to expect this of us. I am terrified. How can this risk to practitioners, other patients, practitioners’ families be justified?”

“We are told that lorries are shipping hundreds of boxes of supplies of PPE to GPs and to hospitals but that isn’t the reality for thousands of our members. The type of PPE being supplied in not in keeping with WHO recommendations. GPs in many parts of England have been told to go and buy their own stocks, only to find none is available. In Cumbria, GP practice staff went to Wickes to try and secure masks.”

He added: “We know that from international data that healthcare workers are at higher risk of becoming infected and many dying – they are naturally worried about the risks to their own lives and their families. It’s time for the government to be transparent about the level of supplies we really have, and how they can provide healthcare staff with the level of protection they need.”

Questioned in Parliament yesterday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that outgoing opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn was “absolutely right to raise this issue, which I know has been a concern. We had a long meeting on it this morning. I am assured that not only are the stocks now there but the Army is now distributing the supplies to all the NHS staff and all the hospitals that need it, and in the past 24 hours has distributed 7.5 million pieces of equipment.”

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