‘Guarantee PPE or risk lives’ says doctors’ leader

by BMA Cymru Wales Press release from BMA Cymru Wales.
Location: Wales
Published: Friday 27 March 2020
Contract and pen article illustration

BMA Cymru Wales has issued a fresh call for the Welsh Government to guarantee that proper protection provision for NHS workers will continue to be made available after being inundated with feedback from its members that personal protective equipment (PPE) is in short supply across Wales.

The BMA’s Chair of Welsh Council, Dr David Bailey, said:

“While we have been advised by Welsh Government that there are sufficient central stocks of the supply of PPE, the reality is that doctors on the frontline are experiencing shortages and many are extremely anxious over the adequacy of the equipment currently being provided to healthcare professionals.

“BMA Cymru Wales is becoming increasingly concerned at the number of reports coming in from the frontline that staff are being told to ration supplies and see patients with little or no personal protection.

“Emerging research is proving that there is no such thing as a low risk consultation, so it is crucial that PPE is worn for every patient contact.

“We have heard from doctors across Wales that they are experiencing shortages of vital PPE, including FP3 masks. Doctors in one hospital told us there are only enough FP3 masks to see them through to Sunday - they have no idea how many more masks will arrive or when.

“Many GPs are opting to source their own PPE from DIY stores due to concerns regarding the reliability of what they have been sent. We’ve heard from GPs who feel they are putting themselves at risk because the eye masks which have been delivered to surgeries do not cover their eyes appropriately." 

Dr Bailey said:

“We already have huge gaps in the workforce, but we know this is getting worse due to doctors contracting the virus. Let me be clear, without personal protection, the infection will spread and the effect on the workforce will worsen. If doctors are having to go off sick, the workforce will not have capacity to care for the growing number of patients being admitted.

“Our message is clear, guarantee PPE or risk lives. Welsh Government must find a reliable way to substantially increase production and distribution - no healthcare worker should be putting themselves at risk.”

ENDS

Notes to editors

The BMA is a trade union 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.

For further information please contact:

Phone: 029 2047 4626
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Email: Carla Murphy ([email protected])