Royal College of Nursing

Facemasks 'not properly tested' before going into use

The problem with protective masks at North Cumbria hospitals involved a type used by staff in Carlisle and Whitehaven in operating theatres.

Staff say some did not fit well enough to prevent fine droplets getting in, which could have carried infection, but were in use for several weeks without the appropriate test being carried out.

The trust that runs the hospitals says consignments of protective equipment were arriving from all over the world, all needing a new set of tests, and the staff employed to do the testing struggled to keep up, but staff and their representatives say it was not acceptable.

The North Cumbria NHS Trust has apologised, saying that it was under extreme pressure at the time, but Glen Turp, from the Royal College of Nursing, says he will be talking to regulators.

Cumberland Infirmary sign

We have to be really clear, staff have been put at risk, their lives may be at risk and those of their family, this is not a good position to be in."

Glen TurpRoyal College of Nursing

We've had to move from a small handful of fit testers, and now we have an army of over 86 people trained and we've done over 2,000 of them, each takes over an hour."

Professor John HowarthNorth Cumbria Integrated Care trust

Remembering NHS staff who have died

BBC Radio Tees

The regional director for the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has told BBC Radio Tees he fears there'll be more lives lost among health and social care workers before the pandemic fades.

A minute's silence is being held at 11:00 to remember keyworkers who have died from coronavirus.

More than 100 NHS and care staff have died with the virus, as have many transport and other key workers.

Glen Turp, who is the northern Regional director for the RCN, says the International Workers Memorial Day is a fitting way to remember those who've worked through the coronavirus pandemic to save lives, but ended up losing their own.