SUE Ryder, the national healthcare charity, which has over 1,000 doctors and nurses providing expert palliative care to people at the end of life, has made another impassioned plea for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for their medical and nursing staff.
Heidi Travis, Chief Executive at Sue Ryder, told Charity Today:
“For Sue Ryder’s doctors and nurses, access to significant amounts of additional Personal Protective Equipment is now critical.
“As a result of COVID-19, we are expecting an increase in people needing end-of-life care in the coming weeks and months.
“The NHS is asking Sue Ryder to plan to support more patients, and yet our medical teams are already providing palliative care for patients with Coronavirus symptoms with only enough Personal Protective Equipment for a matter of days.
“This means that Sue Ryder will soon be unable to protect our doctors and nurses from contracting the virus. We will not put our staff at risk, and so this will lead to staff shortages at a time when they are needed more than ever before.
“If we are to protect our staff against the spread of COVID-19 and continue to care for patients who are dying, in turn supporting the NHS, an immediate solution is needed.
“With a depleted workforce, there will not be enough staff to run the charity’s hospices and Hospice at Home services across England. This will lead to patients being transferred to hospitals which will put additional strain on the NHS.
“We are willing participants in the Coronavirus effort. We want to use our skills, expertise and experience to help in the months ahead, but this will simply not be possible if we cannot access the equipment needed to protect our staff.”
The charity has highlighted the issue several times over the last few weeks. Still, the struggle in containing the virus across the country continues to result in a massive shortage of PPE.
Health managers across the UK have repeatedly voiced their ‘intense frustration’ at the government’s handling of this crisis with many citing the early inaction towards the outbreak in Wuhan leading to the problems now.
The equipment, which comprises face masks, aprons, gowns, gloves and eye protection to help prevent staff from picking up COVID-19 and other illnesses, is only reaching the hospices at sporadic intervals.
The lack of it not only puts staff and patients at risk but lack of PPE around the country is also causing extra stress and anxiety, which is heightened even more given the pandemic.