Responding to calls from the Labour Party for a review of current PPE guidance for NHS staff, BMA council chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul said:
“The Government can no longer continue to ignore growing calls to urgently review current PPE guidance for healthcare workers to protect them as they battle with rocketing infection rates and a highly transmissible variant of the virus.
“In a recent letter to PHE, the BMA warned that a failure to provide greater protection, such as FFP3 masks, in high-risk primary and secondary care settings, could result in more healthcare workers becoming ill, or at worst, dying. Furthermore, if healthcare workers become infected from inadequate PPE it risks spreading infection to colleagues and patients with serious consequences for the health service.
“Just as we have highlighted in a recent letter to the DHSC, Labour also rightly supports our call that a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach is not viable and places staff at further risk of Covid-19.
“As well as urgently reviewing the PHE guidance to ensure that higher levels for at protection are available to those on the frontline, it is also crucial that the appropriate PPE is given to healthcare workers to suit their individual needs.
“At a time when our health service is under unparalleled pressure and on the verge of being overwhelmed, having a healthy NHS workforce is absolutely fundamental to continuing the fight against this virus. Failure to act immediately on this will have a devastating impact, not only on the healthcare staff whose lives continued to be placed at risk, but on NHS’ ability to care for patients.
“The Government have continually praised the efforts of frontline staff throughout this pandemic but the most important thing they can do now is to ensure they are adequately protected so they can safely continue their lifesaving work.”
Notes to editors
The BMA is a trade union and professional association representing and negotiating on behalf of all doctors in the UK. A leading voice advocating for outstanding health care and a healthy population. An association providing members with excellent individual services and support throughout their lives.