Health and care staff have resorted to calling for donations to ensure they have the vital personal protective equipment they need during the escalating coronavirus outbreak.
A community care provider in Torbay and South Devon is crowdfunding £50,000 online to fund PPE as health and care services across the UK turn to local communities to beg for support amid PPE shortages.
Care Network Group director Katrina Green, who launched the appeal, wrote: ‘These amazing front line staff are not being protected enough and the only way we can fund the use of masks on each visit will be with the support from the community.
‘Care companies will close if we don’t protect our staff better as staffing levels will deplete and cash will deplete,’ she added.
Practice nurses are among those who have taken to Twitter to thank local organisations for giving away vital PPE and urge others to donate.
Please can anyone help us get PPE for our docs and nurses? Any hotels willing to donate disposable shower caps? Any gyms with shoe covers? Anyone sat at home who could donate or make visors? Appeal https://t.co/o9bd5qlLHh Please donate via link. Thank you. Please retweet
— Alderley Edge GP (@alderleyedgegp) April 2, 2020
well done for speaking up for community nurses too!
We have enough PPE right now… but it won’t last long and we will run out very soon. We had to have a school donated science goggles to us for eye protection too (which is reusable and wipable) #gpnsnn https://t.co/7LgYXCxMom
— #HelloMyNameIsClaireGPN (@C_Carmichael83) April 3, 2020
Own a closed local business with stocks of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)? Our healthcare heroes would LOVE to have it! Donate by sending a DM with your phone number. We’ll call you back asap! #PPE #GetUsPPE #HelpUsToHelpYou pic.twitter.com/6o9WXIaXqC
— Coventry & Warwickshire Health & Care Partnership (@healthyhappycw) April 3, 2020
Figures published yesterday show there are 51,608 coronavirus cases in the UK and 5,373 people have died.
Andrea Parkin, head of nursing and allied health professionals at Barnsley Healthcare Federation, told Nursing in Practice last week that external organisations donated PPE to her network. This came after ongoing problems ordering aprons, gowns and masks through NHS England and NHS Improvement.
She said: ’I’ve now got 15,000 overshoes from a leisure centre. We have also received donations from other surgeries and goggles from a supplier.’
Community and social care nurses also told Nursing in Practice last week that they fear worsening staff shortages at the same time as they prepare to take on patients that hospitals cannot accommodate.
A spokesperson for the Department of Health said it is ‘working round the clock’ to provide adequate PPE.
They said: ‘The full weight of the Government is behind this effort and we are working closely with industry, social care providers, the NHS, NHS Supply Chain and the army so all our NHS and care staff have the protection they deserve.’