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Coronavirus: Lack of protection for NHS staff ‘an abomination’, says Labour MP on frontline

Labour MP Rosena Allin-Khan has told Sky News a lack of protective equipment for NHS staff is an “abomination” after she increased the hours she is spending at her local hospital as an emergency doctor.

The Tooting MP, who is standing to be elected Labour’s next deputy leader, has taken on more shifts at St George’s Hospital in her constituency during the coronavirus crisis.

She told Sky News’ Kay Burley @Breakfast show that she has increased her number of A&E shifts as “saving lives is the only thing that matters” as the country battles the COVID-19 pandemic.

‘NHS staff absolutely have to be protected’

Ms Allin-Khan added to criticism of the government over the supply of protective personal equipment (PPE) to NHS staff, as well as the level of testing for coronavirus being conducted in the UK.

“I’m hearing from colleagues all around the country that, quite frankly, it is an abomination that NHS and care staff are simply not protected,” she said.


“When I did my shift on Saturday night I had paramedics coming into St George’s saying they’d only been given one set of PPE for an entire 12-hour shift.

“We have already seen that we have lost a nurse and four doctors and they’ll be many more to come.

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“People in the NHS and in our care service, they go to work to save lives.

“They are out there working today to save our mothers, our fathers, our brothers, our sisters, they absolutely have to be protected.”

Ms Allin-Khan also questioned the government’s preparations in securing capacity to conduct coronavirus tests.

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Testing of NHS staff only began at the weekend while, as of Wednesday, only 2,000 hospital workers had been tested.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has now removed a cap on the number of NHS workers who can be assessed each day.

“It’s a pandemic, we need to know the beast that we are fighting at the moment and we can’t do that if we can’t see it,” Ms Allin-Khan added.

“Without mass testing, we don’t know what we’re working with.”

Coronavirus UK tracker: How many cases are in your area – updated daily

Labour’s new leader and deputy leader will be announced on Saturday and Ms Allin-Khan admitted she would “quite surprised” if she won the deputy leadership contest.

Voting in both contests closed on Thursday, with shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer and shadow education secretary Angela Rayner the heavy favourites to be elected leader and deputy leader respectively.


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