Coronavirus: Councils appeal for protective equipment

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image captionThere have been concerns about a shortage of personal protection equipment for frontline NHS staff.

Construction firms and nail bars are being asked to donate protective equipment to help carers.

Dr Simon Walsh, the British Medical Association’s (BMA) emergency medicine spokesman, said the government “needed to be honest” about the supply of personal protection equipment (PPE).

Some firms are helping by using 3D printers to make protective masks.

The government said 390 million items of PPE had gone to NHS staff in the last fortnight.

Dr Walsh said the government “needed to be honest” about the supply of PPE.

“We’re being told again and again by government ministers and secretaries of state that PPE has been procured but we’re not seeing it arriving at hospitals and GP practices,” he said.

“The BMA has been very clear, doctors and nurses will die from Covid-19 if they don’t have the adequate PPE available to them now.”

At Southend Hospital, Essex, clinicians said PPE had been "rationed" and have warned they may have to “limit services to a bare minimum”.

West Essex Clinical Commissioning Group has asked for access to “piles of commercial PPE stock” from “dentists, car body repair shops, building supplies and asbestos companies".

Ealing Council in London appealed to companies employing construction workers and to nail and beauty technicians, asking for fluid resistant face masks, disposable plastic gloves, eye protectors and hand sanitiser, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said.

image copyrightGetty Images
image captionA council has asked for construction firms to donate face masks

Council leader Julian Bell said: “If you are a business, organisation or individual that has this equipment, I urge you to donate it.”

In Enfield, the council asked businesses for PPE supplies to assist the borough’s 90 care homes and 60 care agencies.

Councillor Nesil Caliskan said government supplies delivered on Friday would “only last a few days”.

‘Plan for the worst’

In Southampton, the city council called on restaurants, gyms, cleaning companies and hardware stores to contribute unused equipment.

Chief executive Sandy Hopkins said although the council had enough PPE for staff at the moment, it needed to “galvanise plan for the worst” in the future.

In Warfield, Berkshire, a medical marketing agency is joining UK efforts to use 3D printers to make protective masks for medical staff.

image copyrightWordmonster
image captionCarl Owen said his company was helping nationwide efforts to print masks

Dr Carl Owen, from Word Monster, said: “We were looking for ways we could help really.

“We are in a lucky position where our business is still going well, so we are okay to spend a couple of grand on this.

“It is nice to help and to see everybody coming together.”

Mr Owen said the firm could make up to 20 masks a day, and expected to create around 600 in total to deliver to GP surgeries in Bagshot and Maidenhead.

Downing Street said 390 million items of PPE including masks, alcohol wipes and aprons, have been delivered to NHS staff over the last two weeks.

It said a number of suppliers had come forward with offers to produce more and that the government was working with them.

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