Daily US times: British National Health Service workers’ still do not have the protective equipment they need to treat coronavirus patients, medics have said.
Addressing the issue, the British Medical Association (BMA) said doctors were putting their lives at risk by working without adequate protection.
It comes as the health secretary Matt Hancock said 19 NHS workers had died with coronavirus since the outbreak began.
He said on Friday that there was enough kit for everyone and unveiled a plan for addressing shortages.
The UK reported 980 hospital deaths on Thursday, bringing the total to 8,958.
The death toll, which does not count those who died in the community of care homes, has exceeded the worst daily figures seen in Italy and Spain -England’s deputy chief medical officer, Jonathan Van-Tam said it is still “impossible to say we have peaked”.
It was announced a further 823 people had died in hospital with the virus in England, including an 11-year-old, and a further 47 in Scotland, though the latest UK-wide figures have not yet been published.
Mr Hancock told that the government was looking into how NHS workers’ who had died with the virus were infected – adding that some may have caught it outside of work.
“But that doesn’t take away from the bravery of every single NHS worker,” he said, adding that his “heart goes out” to those who have died and their families.
British Medical Association says supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE) in London and Yorkshire are at “dangerously low levels”.
BMA council chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul said doctors were being forced into a corner and faced “heart-breaking decisions” over whether to carry on without proper protection.
“This is an immensely difficult position to be in, but is ultimately down to the government’s chronic failure to supply us with the proper equipment,” he said.
A nurse at Watford General Hospital in Hertfordshire told the BBC he felt unsafe with the level of PPE he had been given.
He said shortages meant those working onwards with coronavirus patients were only being given a surgical mask and plastic apron, rather than a gown covering the whole body.
Last week a nursing assistant who had been looking after coronavirus patients at the hospital died.
“We are scared because we are spreading the virus,” he said. “We don’t deserve it and our patients even more.”
Some hospitals have reported receiving higher consignments of PPE recently but doctors and nurses have continued to report shortages, according to BBC health editor Hugh Pym.
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