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RCGP demands clarity on PPE for frontline GPs
Martin Marshall has written to the Health Secretary demanding urgent clarity for GPs around how and when to use the personal protective equipment they are receiving when seeing patients during the coronavirus pandemic.
The chair of the Royal College of GPs said in his letter to Matt Hancock that coronavirus is ‘arguably one of the greatest public health challenges of our time, and one that is significantly impacting general practice as well as secondary care’. He called for reassurance that GPs and their teams can be confident they are working safely when seeing patients face to face.
RCGP members have reported their confidence to carry out patient consultations being ‘impacted by uncertainty’ over the quality of PPE being supplied to their surgeries. As the situation develops further, GPs will see an increasing number of patients with the virus. It is therefore vital, Marshall wrote, that ‘urgent clarity is provided as to whether GPs should begin wearing PPE for all face-to-face patient consultations’.
Marshall said that some of these issues could all be resolved through clearer guidance for GPs and primary care teams as to how and when they should be using PPE during patient consultations.
He said: "We are living and working in unprecedented times – GPs are aware of this and are stepping up to the challenge, and the College recognises that a huge amount of work is ongoing to ensure the NHS will be able to cope with COVID-19. But our members are worried, not just for themselves and their teams but their patients and it’s important that the Government understands their concerns so that they can be rectified. We have been encouraged to hear that millions of pieces of PPE have been ordered – and we need to see this making its way to GP practices, as well as hospitals, but we also need clarity about how to most effectively use it, and reassurance that all elements of the PPE we receive is safe."