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RCN: Fix PPE and testing before relaxing lockdown

RCN: Fix PPE and testing before relaxing lockdown

The RCN has said nurses must have adequate PPE and testing before the lockdown is scaled back any further.

This comes after Boris Johnson yesterday called on people to return to their place of employment if they cannot work from home, in his ‘roadmap for reopening society’ in England during the coronavirus epidemic.

But the RCN has warned that the conditional plans – which include the potential for some primary pupils to return to school and shops to reopen from 1 June – should not be put into motion until all key workers have the PPE and testing they need.

RCN chief executive Dame Donna Kinnair said: ‘[PPE and testing have] to be a priority. Until our members report they are getting all they need, it is hard to see how the lockdown could be relaxed further.’

She continued: ‘Nursing staff across the UK are imploring the public to remember that this pandemic is far from over. Please think about our health and care workers, working under tremendous pressure, and respect the guidance being given.’

In addition, Mr Johnson said that, from Wednesday, people in England will be able to take unlimited amounts of outdoor exercise rather than only exercising once a day.

They will also be free to sit in parks, play sport with people from the same household and drive to other destinations in England.

Other announcements included:

  • People travelling to work should avoid public transport if possible
  • The Government is working on guidance for employers to make workplaces ‘Covid-secure’
  • The Government hopes to reopen some of the hospitality industry and other public places by July at the earliest.

PPE and testing have been an ongoing concern for healthcare workers during the Covid-19 pandemic with nurses without adequate PPE even considering whether it is safe to work and healthcare staff reporting difficulties in accessing testing.

The Government also announced earlier this month that coronavirus tests will be available to all NHS and social care staff even if they do not have symptoms.

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The Royal College of Nursing has said nurses must have adequate personal protective equipment and testing before the lockdown is scaled back any further.