Johnson must ensure enough PPE for nursing staff

The Royal College of Nursing has written to the Prime Minister demanding his intervention in ensuring the sufficient supply of personal protective equipment for nursing staff during the coronavirus pandemic.

The letter follows reports of a lack of PPE available to frontline staff, not just in hospitals, but in GP surgeries, care homes and in the community where nurses are visiting people in their homes. It also calls on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to increase the number of tests for the virus for nursing staff so that those with possible symptoms of coronavirus know whether they are infected or not.

Nursing leaders are also asking for the government to provide clarity on what PPE nursing staff should use and in what circumstances, specifically in respect of eye protection and gowns.

Dame Donna Kinnair, RCN chief executive, says in the letter: “Our members have been unstinting in their dedication and professionalism to protecting the health and wellbeing of the UK – they must be supported by the government and health sector in return. Our members are coming out of retirement, students are interrupting their studies, and nursing staff are deploying from non-clinical settings, all to support the frontline in the battle against COVID-19. 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.”