Is this how we expect those risking their lives in the face of a pandemic to be treated?
Nurses at Brighton and Sussex University Hospital (BSUH) feel forced to make their own PPE from laminate sheets and elastic bands due to a lack or equipment.
GMB, the union for NHS staff, says the blame lies with BSUH board (BSUH) for downgrading the types of PPE for staff and limiting its availability in the middle of the Coronavirus crisis.
GMB members have been told the trust and senior management are issuing daily guidance which goes against the advice of Public Health England (PHE) and the World Health Organisation, demanding that hospital staff seek to save PPE, even when dealing with COVID19 patients.
This has led to staff working in operating theatres being told contrary to PHE guidance, with face visors only available to certain staff deemed to be ‘more at risk’.
Others working in the same areas are instead being directed to use less effective PPE, resulting in nursing staff being forced to make their own face visors out of spare equipment such as laminating sheets and elastic bands.
Gary Palmer GMB Regional Organiser said:
“Is this how we expect those risking their lives in the face of a pandemic to be treated? Front line nursing staff forced to make their own PPE to protect themselves?
“GMB want to see NHS employers taking their responsibility seriously and so far, it's clear that BSUH have failed to do so. The crucial guidance from Public Health England is clear, all NHS staff should be empowered to choose PPE they need protect themselves at work, and we will be on the case to ensure that BSUH to be implementing this.
“BSUH staff or any NHS frontline health worker should never be put in a position where they feel their employer is prepared to sacrifice their own safety to keep the service running.”