January 26, 2021

Coronavirus: Delivery of protective kit for NHS delayed

A personal protective equipment (PPE) delivery from Turkey to the UK has been delayed, the government has said.

Cabinet minister Robert Jenrick said on Saturday equipment including 400,000 gowns would arrive on Sunday, and there was “short supply” in some areas.

A government spokesman confirmed the delay on Sunday, saying they were working “to ensure the shipment is delivered as soon as possible”.

A source told the BBC they hoped it would arrive in the coming days.

The pledge to take delivery of more protective kit came after warnings that some hospitals’ intensive care units could run out of gowns this weekend.

Public Health England changed its advice on Friday to allow the NHS to re-use gowns if stock was running low, saying “some compromise” was needed “in times of extreme shortages”.

It asked staff to reuse “(washable) surgical gowns or coveralls or similar suitable clothing (for example, long-sleeved laboratory coat, long-sleeved patient gown or industrial coverall) with a disposable plastic apron for AGPs (aerosol-generating procedures) and high-risk settings with forearm washing once gown or coverall is removed”.

The guidance also said hospitals could reserve the gowns for surgical operations and procedures which were likely to transmit respiratory pathogens.

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