An NHS doctor has told Sky News his GP surgery has been forced to appeal to its own patients for personal protective equipment (PPE).
Amar Ahmed claimed the resources given to Wilmslow Health Centre in Cheshire by the government were “not appropriate” for dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.
On its website, the centre said across East Cheshire they were “short of PPE required to handle suspected and confirmed COVID-19 patients” – and that it was “essential that we protect our healthcare workers so that they remain safe and fit to continue providing care”.
Health officials have promised that more PPE is on its way to NHS workers nationwide fighting the pandemic.
But Dr Ahmed, from the facility – which has 10 doctors for its 13,000 patients – said: “We know of GPs in Manchester, who’ve been admitted to hospital with coronavirus.
“So we’re very concerned that we have the appropriate protective equipment, especially when we’re going out to visit sick patients in their homes.”
He added that obtaining disposable face masks was their top priority, but they also needed body suits, or surgical gowns and disposable raincoats.
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“What has been delivered to us is not appropriate for the level of risks we’re taking, so we had to make an appeal”, he said.
“We are not getting enough equipment, and what we are getting isn’t up to scratch, but we will carry on, as we normally do.”
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“But we just have to get on with it, without putting our staff and colleagues at risk – but I do think this needs to be looked at in the future as to how we got to this position.”
Dr Ahmed said since they launched their appeal last Friday, they have received 120 masks – and that they are the exact ones they asked for – FFP3 or N95 rated.
The items are being dropped off safely at the GP surgery’s “hot hub” in their car park, where patients who are not sick enough to be admitted to hospital, are being treated. These are being set up right across the UK.
Dr Ahmed told Sky News: “We’re really grateful. Most people are donating these items for free, because they want to help.
“We seem to have a very well connected community, as we have patients giving us masks, visors and disposable ponchos.
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He continued: “They have links to people who produce these things, so they are also putting us in touch with suppliers in China, in the UAE, so the suppliers are out there.”
“We’re now more confident we will have enough, so we will offer any excess equipment we receive, to local hospitals and out of hour’s surgeries if they need it.”
On Thursday, it was reported official advice on whether people should wear masks in public could be changed after new evidence emerged suggesting they could help protect people from coronavirus.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has consistently said that only those who have symptoms or are caring for someone with COVID-19 should wear them.
Tonight, people across the UK will again take part in a national applause of thanks for health workers helping in the fight against coronavirus.
Dr Ahmed told Sky News that “all healthcare workers are very appreciative” of the “kind hearted” gesture.
And he added that nursing staff, care workers and all the other healthcare professionals in the community are “going above and beyond” to help patients during this “very testing time for the nation”.
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He also said that “morale is generally good”.
“Everyone knows we are all in this together, we are united.
“People who use the NHS already realise how important it is, not just in a crisis, but every day.
“But perhaps it has taken a crisis on this scale to perhaps raise awareness that the NHS is an essential part of British society, and that it needs to be preserved at all costs, with appropriate funding and resources.
“We all strongly feel that now is not the time for recriminations or blame.
“Now is the time to get the best protection we can for our healthcare workers.”
SOURCE : https://news.sky.com/story/coronavirus-gp-surgery-appeals-to-patients-for-personal-protective-equipment-11967598