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Coronavirus: PPE legal challenge doctors push for judicial review

Meenal Viz and Nishant Joshi Image copyright Meenal Viz and Nishant Joshi
Image caption Dr Meenal Viz and Dr Nishant Joshi work at separate hospitals in the Midlands and East of England

A couple who fear their NHS jobs expose them to Covid-19 are pushing for a judicial review over personal protective equipment (PPE) guidance.

Doctors Nishant Joshi and Meenal Viz, who is seven months' pregnant, are concerned PPE advice has changed "without rhyme or reason".

Dr Viz accused the government of "trying to kick the can down the road".

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said it could not comment on pending or potential legal action.

The couple has released a video on social media directed at their unborn child that shows images of life before and during the pandemic.

"In just 63 days, this is going to be your new home," Dr Viz says on the video. "I hope I get to show it to you.

"You are arriving at a very difficult time. People are dying".

The couple, who are crowdfunding their legal challenge, said they were motivated by the death of pregnant nurse Mary Agyapong, who contracted Covid-19 and died at the Luton and Dunstable Hospital on 12 April.

Her baby daughter, named Mary, survived.

"Mary was also pregnant at the time and I am in that position right now," Dr Viz said.

Image copyright Meenal Viz
Image caption Dr Viz took her protest to Downing Street last month

In a pre-action legal letter to the DHSC four weeks ago, Dr Joshi and Dr Viz said there was "great anxiety" among staff over safety protocols.

They claim the government's stance is "unclear and inconsistent" and exposes healthcare workers to a greater risk of contracting the virus.

A statement released through their lawyers, said the government responded two weeks ago, asked the doctors to wait for further information and a further response received on Thursday contained "minimal information which was unconvincing".

Dr Viz told the BBC: "In these four weeks we have lost over 100 healthcare workers and they keep trying to kick the can down the road.

"We're not going to wait any longer because we are seeing our colleagues suffer.

"We've decided to take it to the next step - to file for judicial review."

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