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400,000 gowns are set to arrive from Turkey today but Robert Jenrick accepts government must do more after furious NHS says faith in Matt Hancock is 'draining away' after they were told to RE-USE protective

400,000 gowns are set to arrive from Turkey today but Robert Jenrick accepts government must do more after furious NHS says faith in Matt Hancock is 'draining away' after they were told to RE-USE protective
  • Robert Jenrick revealed that 400,000 gowns will arrive in the UK from Turkey
  • The gowns are part of 84 tonnes of PPE set to arrive from Ankara tomorrow
  • Come as faith in Matt Hancock 'draining away' over PPE issues, union leaders say
  • British Medical Association has labelled the situation a 'sorry state of affairs' 
  • Medics could have to treat virus patients with only plastic aprons for protection 
  • BMA poll of 6,000 doctors finds significant amount remain without proper PPE
A 'very large consignment' of PPE - including 400,000 gowns - will arrive in the UK from Turkey today, Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick announced at Saturday's government briefing, after NHS staff were told to reuse protective equipment amid the coronavirus outbreak.  
Mr Jenrick said 84 tonnes of PPE will be flown over from Turkey on Sunday to help NHS staff battling the crisis. 
It comes after some union leaders warned that faith in Health Secretary Matt Hancock is 'draining away' amid the PPE scandal - with some hospitals fearing that PPE supplies would run out by the end of the weekend. 
Though promising to address shortages, Mr Jenrick admitted that demand is 'very high' with supplies of some equipment, including gowns and certain types of masks, being low. 
It has also been suggested that the 400,000 gowns from Turkey would only last three days, with Mr Jenrick acknowledging the 'challenges' of providing PPE. 
RAF and Turkish Air Force personnel unloading personal protection equipment (PPE) from a Turkish airforce A400M aircraft on April 10, after it arrived at RAF Brize Norton from Etimesgut military airport in Ankara
RAF and Turkish Air Force personnel unloading personal protection equipment (PPE) from a Turkish airforce A400M aircraft on April 10, after it arrived at RAF Brize Norton from Etimesgut military airport in Ankara
Housing minister Robert Jenrick said 84 tonnes of PPE will be flown over from Turkey on Sunday to help NHS staff battling the coronavirus outbreak
Housing minister Robert Jenrick said 84 tonnes of PPE will be flown over from Turkey on Sunday to help NHS staff battling the coronavirus outbreak
It comes after some union leaders warned that faith in Health Secretary Matt Hancock is 'draining away' amid the PPE scandal, with NHS staff told to reuse equpiment
It comes after some union leaders warned that faith in Health Secretary Matt Hancock is 'draining away' amid the PPE scandal, with NHS staff told to reuse equpiment
He said at the briefing:  'Today I can report that a very large consignment of PPE is due to arrive in the UK tomorrow from Turkey, which amounts to 84 tonnes of PPE and will include for example, 400,000 gowns - so a very significant additional shipment.
'But demand is also very high. We are working with British manufacturers to ensure that they can make a contribution, and you've heard of some of the more prominent ones like Burberry and Barbour but there are many SMEs as well being involved in that.
'My department is also involved in trying to ensure that the supplies that we have get out, not just to the NHS, critical though that is, but also to social care, often to smaller establishments like care homes, all across the country.
'There's over 50,000 healthcare settings like that in the country, and we're using local resilience forums, backed by almost 200 military planners to do the logistical task of taking the stocks that we do have, and getting them to the front line, but I completely accept that this is extremely challenging.
'Supply in some areas, particularly gowns and certain types of masks and aprons, is in short supply at the moment, and that must be an extremely anxious time for people working on the front line, but they should be assured that we are doing everything we can to correct this issue, and to get them the equipment that they need.'
This graphic shows the number of new cases in the UK over the past month, including swabs from PHE labs and hospitals and ones from key workers and their households
Robert Jenrick said: '17,759 people are currently in hospital with coronavirus in Great Britain, down from 18,711 yesterday’
Britain's death toll in comparison to other countries is shown. The US has surged ahead of the rest of the world as is demonstrated in the graph
Another graphic shown at the press conference at No 10 on Saturday showed the change in transport use since the start of the lockdown
Another graphic shown at the press conference at No 10 on Saturday showed the change in transport use since the start of the lockdown
It comes as union leaders said that faith in Matt Hancock is 'draining away', after furious NHS staff were told to re-use PPE and 'wear aprons' to treat coronavirus patients.
The Health Secretary is being told he might have to consider his position as union leaders criticised his handling of the ongoing PPE 'scandal'. 
New guidance was issued this week amid reports at least 60 NHS trusts were expecting to exhaust their stocks of gowns. This includes all hospitals in London, which reportedly need tens of thousands of gowns delivered urgently.
Rachel Harrison, national officer of the GMB, claimed the union raised critical protective equipment supply issues with the Government over a month ago.
She said Mr Hancock has 'serious and urgent questions to answer' after PPE guidance was 'redrawn based on availability, not on evidence or best practice'.    
'GMB won't tolerate a situation where our members are pushed on to the front line without the basic kit they need to do their jobs safely,' she explained. 
'NHS and ambulance staff will now face unacceptable risks as a result of gross ministerial incompetence. We won't let this go unchallenged and will now review the steps we need to take protect our members.' 
A nurse wears personal protective equipment at the Chessington testing centre yesterday
Faith in Matt Hancock (pictured) is 'draining away', union leaders say, after furious NHS staff are told to re-use PPE and 'wear aprons' to treat coronavirus patients
Faith in Matt Hancock (pictured) is 'draining away', union leaders say, after furious NHS staff are told to re-use PPE and 'wear aprons' to treat coronavirus patients
Unite assistant general secretary Gail Cartmail called the continued lack of PPE a 'national scandal' and the 'litany of broken promises' as 'shameful'. 
'The public is looking on aghast as brave doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers are risking their lives to provide care to very sick patients - yet they don't have the necessary protection to carry out their roles,' she said. 
'Matt Hancock needs to sort out the logjam in PPE supplies urgently, otherwise he may have to consider his position as this situation can't continue, as health professionals would be quite right to decline to put themselves in danger.
'This would go against every instinct in their body and every tenet of their professional training, but already the public is very alarmed at the rising toll of NHS staff who have died due to coronavirus as they have battled the pandemic.
'We are not just talking about NHS staff in hospitals, but those working in the community, such as health visitors and community nurses, and those employed in social care settings, such as care homes.'
The Royal College of Surgeons and the Royal College of Nursing said nurses should refuse to treat patients 'as a last resort' if they are not provided with adequate PPE. 
Prof Neil Mortensen, president-elect of the RCS, said the guidance, rushed out yesterday, was disturbing and issued without consulting expert medical bodies.  
He added: 'The new guidance implies that, even in the operating theatre, surgeons and their teams may not require proper PPE. This is simply unacceptable.'   
British Medical Association council chairman Dr Chaand Nagpaul said the PPE situation in the UK is now 'a truly sorry state of affairs'
British Medical Association council chairman Dr Chaand Nagpaul said the PPE situation in the UK is now 'a truly sorry state of affairs'
The BMA has labelled the situation a 'sorry state of affairs' with doctors feeling unprotected at work despite the UK being two months into the crisis.
Frontline medics fear some NHS trusts could run out of gowns and coveralls this weekend with stocks now 'exhausted'. The anger comes amid fears they might have to treat virus patients with only plastic aprons for protection.  
The guidance from PHE sets out what front-line staff should do where there are no gowns left. Options include borrowing from other hospitals with supplies, wearing coveralls or using the flimsy plastic aprons.
It is a significant U-turn from previous PHE guidance, which required full-length waterproof surgical gowns for all high-risk hospital procedures.
The move will prompt fears more doctors and nurses will become infected due to a lack of PPE, with one leading figure saying the situation is worrying.
A BMA survey of more than 6,000 doctors across the country said a significant amount of them remain without the protection they need to guard against Covid-19.
Another poll by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) found half of nurses have felt pressure to work without appropriate protective equipment during the crisis.
BMA council chairman Dr Chaand Nagpaul thundered: 'We shouldn't still be hearing that doctors feel unprotected when they go to work.
Medical staff put on personal protective equipment at a testing centre in Belfast on April 7
Medical staff put on personal protective equipment at a testing centre in Belfast on April 7
'The Government says that one billion items will soon have been shipped, and while there have been signs of improvement, our research clearly shows that equipment is not reaching all doctors working on the front line.'

Almost half of Scottish nurses feel 'pressured' to work without PPE

Almost half of nurses in Scotland have felt pressured to care for patients without adequate personal protective equipment (PPE), according to a survey.
Respondents to the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) questionnaire shows 46% of its members north of the border, including those working in high-risk environments, had felt pressed into working without the PPE despite dangers related to the Covid-19 crisis.
More than two-thirds of respondents - 69% - to the RCN poll had raised concerns about PPE, while 75% had that issue fully or partially addressed.
Theresa Fyffe, RCN Scotland director, said: 'The responses to this snapshot survey speak for themselves.
'It's fundamental to personal safety and effective infection control that nursing staff have the correct PPE and that it fits properly.
'Incorrectly fitting PPE might not provide effective protection. It's also essential that they are trained in its proper use and have adequate changing and washing facilities.
'Our members are telling us this is not the case for everyone and the results support the concerns the RCN has been raising consistently during the pandemic.
'The Scottish Government has assured staff that a lot of hard work is being done to improve and secure supply, distribution and use of PPE.
'These results show that there is still more to do. It's time to make good on the promises that have been made to all nursing staff in the past few weeks.'
A total of 1,465 RCN members who work in Scotland responded to the survey.
The results show 25% of nurses working in high-risk environments had not had their mask fit tested and 31% in these areas had not had training in putting on and taking off PPE.
Almost half - 47% - of respondents working in high-risk environments and 36% in general care environments said they had been asked to re-use single-use equipment.
The Scottish Government claims more than 75 million items of PPE have been delivered to hospitals in Scotland providing care for Covid-19 cases and other conditions.
It is said to be putting pressure on suppliers to increase production levels as well as identify other sources.
An email address has also been set-up for any concerns to be raised.
A Scottish Government spokesman said: 'We are continuously looking to improve the supply and distribution of the protective equipmentHe added: 'Just yesterday the Health and Social Care Secretary said he could not guarantee that hospitals would not run out this weekend.  
'Meanwhile, the BMA has been inundated with approaches from companies offering to do their bit to supply the NHS. This is a truly sorry state of affairs and we renew our call for the Government to work with manufacturers to ramp up domestic supply.' 
 NHS Providers chief executive Chris Hopson said: 'We have now reached the point where national stock of fully fluid repellent gowns and coveralls (is) exhausted. So some trusts will run out of this type of gown or coverall in the next 24 to 48 hours. What next?'
He added that NHS trusts and his group had asked national leaders several times last week to prepare a clear public plan should a trust run out of gowns.
Mr Hopson said the agreed plan in a shortage can be best summarised as to 'provide the highest level of protection possible with the equipment available'.
Niall Dickson, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, a body that describes itself as speaking for the health and care system, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: 'I think the worrying situation is absolutely there.
'The reality is that there is a chance, and I don't think it's definite, but there is a chance hospitals could run out or, indeed, other parts of the system could run out of the gowns which are required to treat some, not all, Covid patients.
'And that means that they have had to issue this guidance to make clear that if somebody is in that position, here is the fall-back which they point out, the World Health Organisation and the Centre for Communicable Diseases in the US have said this is what you should do in that situation. But, of course, it's much less than satisfactory.' 
At least 50 NHS staff members have died from the virus. They include Abdul Mabud Chowdhury, 53, who had warned a lack of PPE put medics at risk.
The new guidance was issued in response to 'acute shortages of PPE'. It said the Health and Safety Executive had approved reusing items and 'sessional' use – where one health care worker uses the same PPE for a whole shift.
It said that even though items were designed for single use, 'HSE recognises that some compromise is needed to optimise the supply of PPE in times of extreme shortages'.
It comes after Health Secretary Matt Hancock admitted he couldn't guarantee hospitals wouldn't run out this weekend.
At a briefing yesterday, Mr Hancock said 55,000 more gowns were arriving but admitted the UK was 'tight' on supplies.
NHS Providers chief executive Chris Hopson said in a tweet: 'We have now reached the point where national stock of fully fluid repellent gowns and coveralls (is) exhausted.
NHS Providers chief executive Chris Hopson said in a tweet: 'We have now reached the point where national stock of fully fluid repellent gowns and coveralls (is) exhausted.
He told the Commons health select committee: 'The challenge of getting protective equipment out to everybody who needs it is an incredibly difficult one. 
'As of this weekend we will have shipped one billion items of personal protective equipment across the UK. I take responsibility for getting PPE out to everyone.'
Asked if he would get gowns to those who needed them this weekend he said: 'That is what we are aiming to do.'
Almost all the gowns used by the NHS are made in China and the Far East. 
The UK needs around 150,000 a day, meaning the 55,000 due to arrive yesterday equates to only around eight hours worth. 
They need to be water-resistant material and have long sleeves.The UK toll of coronavirus-related deaths soared in the past 24 hours to 15,464, officials said
onavirus-related deaths soared in the past 24 hours to 15,464, officials said
An RCN survey also found half of 14,000 nursing staff on duty at Easter - including those in the most high-risk areas - felt under pressure to work without PPE.
Almost a third of nursing staff treating Covid-19 patients not on ventilators reported a lack of face and eye protection. 
Half said they believed they had enough alcohol hand rub.
One in ten nurses said they were relying on face or eye protection that they had either bought themselves or which was homemade.
Donna Kinnair, RCN chief executive, said: 'All decision makers involved here need to get an urgent grip on the situation. Nursing staff must be given protection.'

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