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Doctors warn UK hospitals running out of protective equipment for staff


US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)

A worker in protective clothing, including face mask and gloves, cleans the floor of the pharmacy attached to the The County Oak Medical Centre in Brighton, southern England on February 10, 2020. (AFP photo)

Hospitals in the United Kingdom are close to running out of equipment vital to protecting doctors and nurses from catching Covid-19 from infected patients.

Monday, 09 March 2020 8:08 AM  [ Last Update: Monday, 09 March 2020 9:16 AM ]


NHS medics have reported being unable to obtain some face masks and other specialist personal protective equipment (PPE) which is needed to prevent them from falling ill. Multiple sources have said that some hospitals are only weeks away from running out of equipment.

The Department of Health and Social Care, in response to concerns aired on Sunday, said it would now release the UK’s stockpile of equipment set aside for when the country faces a pandemic disease. Coronavirus has not yet been classified as a pandemic.

Doctors have been told to limit their use of face masks during procedures and surgeries in an attempt to maintain supplies while NHS England announced it would be shipping PPE to general practitioners (GP) this week amid concerns they lack enough equipment.

One NHS manager, speaking with The Independent, said they were aware of three NHS trusts which lacked sufficient equipment and were presently rationing what they had to try and attempting to make the supplies last until they can get more deliveries.

They said, “PPE is about to become a major issue. We’ve got a problem and NHS Supply Chain are invisible on the issue and the national command team are keeping silent. We will be out of PPE in two weeks with no supplies on the horizon.

“This is going to be the game changer and nobody wants to address the problem. Our masks are made in China and they aren’t about to let any stock leave the country. Of our key PPE lines, three are now unavailable for the rest of March and who knows when from there.

“As usual we are all being gagged. This is serious and I know what this means and what the risks are.”

Another said, “It’s not really about not having enough now, it’s about knowing we will have enough in the future as staff use up the stock. We need to secure enough supply going forward.”

China, which is the world’s biggest manufacturer of masks and surgical protective equipment, has banned the export of most PPE equipment due to its own demands during the coronavirus outbreak

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