The lack of PPE for NHS and social care staff is ‘unacceptable’, the Royal College of Nursing has warned.
RCN chief executive Dame Donna Kinnair added that all staff should be provided with aprons, gloves and masks as a ‘minimum’.
In a statement, she said: ‘It is completely unacceptable that weeks into this crisis, there are colleagues in all settings – hospitals, community or care homes – who have not been provided with personal protective equipment.
‘Every minute we wait is a minute too long. All nursing staff, no matter where they work, must feel safe.’
She added: ‘The RCN has said repeatedly that we will not accept anything less than aprons, gloves and masks for all staff, in all settings.
‘But this is a minimum – and that is why we are so disappointed even that level of protection has yet to be provided.’
Andrea Parkin, head of nursing and allied health professionals at Barnsley Healthcare Federation, told Nursing in Practice 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.’
Claire Carmichael, a practice nurse based in Portsmouth, took to Twitter to share the news of a PPE donation from a local school as her practice waits for more PPE to arrive, while social care staff have shared similar issues.
The call from the RCN comes after NHS England said GPs can request emergency 72-hour PPE to fill distribution ‘gaps’.