Commenting on the news that quantities of faulty and out of date PPE have allegedly continued to be distributed to, and used by healthcare workers and patients when it was known there was a problem, the BMA Chair of Council, Dr Chaand Nagpaul said:
“These reports, if true, are nothing short of a national scandal. If doctors and health and care workers have been supplied with, and worn, faulty, re-dated masks, this is clearly a dereliction of duty to ensure the safety of NHS staff and patients. Suggestions that these faults were known about in May, and yet action is only now being taken, are alarming.
“Wearing substandard PPE places doctors at risk of becoming infected and also spreading the illness to patients. We know that doctors and healthcare staff have become infected and died from this virus and therefore nothing short of 100% fit for purpose PPE should have been supplied from the outset.”
In March, NHS England provided reassurance to all NHS Trusts and said:
‘Please be assured products being issued have passed stringent tests that demonstrate they are safe. The PPE is exposed to extreme conditions for prolonged periods, to see how the product deteriorates. All that are not up to standard are destroyed and not distributed to trusts. We have been working with independent test facilities and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) who, after being provided with scientific evidence, were content with our assessment that these are safe to use by NHS staff.’
Dr Nagpaul continued, “Given these explicit assurances, we now need clear answers as to how these masks were distributed and allowed to be used. Crucially, we need a cast iron guarantee that no faulty or out of date PPE is currently on the front line or in community care.
“Every single item of faulty PPE should now be withdrawn from stocks and replaced with sufficient equipment that is in-date – not re-dated - and with rigorous quality control measures to ensure these properly protect health and care staff.”
Notes to editors
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