December 5, 2020

Coronavirus: NHS workers’ lives at risk over PPE shortages, says BMA

NHS staff still do not have the protective equipment they need to treat coronavirus patients, medics have said.

The British Medical Association (BMA) said doctors were putting their lives at risk by working without adequate protection.

It comes as the health secretary said 19 NHS workers had died with coronavirus since the outbreak began.

On Friday, Matt Hancock said there was enough kit for everyone and unveiled a plan for addressing shortages.

The UK recorded 980 hospital deaths on Thursday, bringing the total to 8,958.

That death toll, which does not include those who died in care homes or the community, has exceeded the worst daily figures seen in Italy and Spain – but according to England’s deputy chief medical officer, Jonathan Van-Tam, it is still “impossible to say we have peaked”.

Mr Hancock told the BBC the government was looking into how NHS staff who had died with the virus were infected.

However, he said it was important to note that some may have caught it outside of work.

“But that doesn’t take away from the bravery of every single NHS worker,” he said, adding that his “heart goes out” to those who have died and their families.

Mr Hancock said he was “particularly struck at the high proportion of people from minority ethnic backgrounds and people who have come to this country to work in the NHS who have died of coranavirus”.

“It is a testament to the fact that people who have come from all over the world have come and given their lives in service to the NHS and paid for that with their lives,” he said, adding that “we should recognise their enormous contribution”.

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