Staff need protection when on the frontline

Yvette Cooper has suggested there is a chronic shortage of protective gowns for frontline NHS staff, despite government claims to the contrary.

By David Spereall
Friday, 17th April 2020, 11:57 am
Yvette Cooper MP.
Yvette Cooper MP.

The Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford MP said she’d spoken to nurses and managers at the Mid Yorkshire Hospitals Trust and has called on ministers to sort the problem urgently.

Staff at the trust, which runs Pinderfields, Pontefract and Dewsbury Hospitals, have received widespread praise for keeping the healthcare system going during the coronavirus pandemic.

But there are fears they are not being adequately protected against the virus.

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Ms Cooper’s comments follow an intervention from the Royal College of Nursing over the Easter weekend. They said nurses should refuse to treat COVID-19 patients “as a last resort” if their personal protective equipment (PPE) was not up to scratch.

The Mid Yorkshire trust has been asked for comment about Ms Cooper’s remarks, buthad not responded as the Express went to print.

Speaking on Tuesday, the MP said: “I’ve spoken directly to ministers to urge them to ensure more gowns are urgently delivered to Mid Yorkshire Trust.

“National officials and ministers should not be claiming that there is enough PPE when Yorkshire hospitals have been running out.

“I’ve heard from local nurses as well as hospital managers about the real struggles they are facing.

“The government should be working with more companies across the country, as well as Burberry who volunteered help, to urgently increase supplies.

“When medical staff and support staff are doing so much for others, the least everyone else can do is make sure they have the protection they need.”