Personal protective equipment is needed for nurses working in general practice and care homes, not just hospitals, the Royal College of Nursing has warned in a letter to prime minister Boris Johnson.
RCN chief executive Dame Donna Kinnair also urged the government to ensure there was enough coronavirus testing for health and care staff.
Dame Donna wrote: ‘Over the weekend, there were increasing reports of a lack of PPE available to frontline staff – not just in hospitals, but in GP surgeries, care homes and community nurses visiting people in their homes.
‘We ask you to personally intervene and act to ensure enough supply of PPE and testing for Covid-19 is available for all nursing staff and our colleagues across the health and care system,’ she added.
Andrea Parkin, head of nursing and allied health professionals at Barnsley Healthcare Federation, told Nursing in Practice on Monday that not enough PPE had yet reached practices across her network.
She said: ‘We are trying to order PPE aprons, gowns, FFP3 masks and everything else in preparation for seeing COVID positive patients in primary care ‘hot’ clinics across our networks.
‘Unfortunately, we have not received any of this yet. We currently have minimal fluid resistant face masks, which arrived but were out of date,’ she added.
Clare Mechen, a practice nurse in Poole, said the PPE her practice had received had been ‘completely insufficient’.
She said: ‘We cannot treat patients without sufficient and effective PPE. We get promised more but had nothing yet.’
NHS England said on Monday that all GP practices had now received PPE against coronavirus.
In addition, from this week, the army will help deliver PPE equipment where it is needed, with service personnel to make deliveries during weekday, evenings and weekends.
It emerged last week that some GP practices have been supplied with expired face masks that have concealed ‘best before’ stickers.