Coronavirus: Care home and community nurses under 'enormous pressure'

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Nurses working in Scotland's care homes and those in the community are coming under "enormous pressure" over staff shortages and infection control, the head of the industry body has warned.

Theresa Fyffe, director of the Royal College of Nursing in Scotland, also expressed staff concerns about access to safety equipment.

Figures showed 608 deaths last week.

Raising concerns

Ms Fyffe told Radio Scotland's Good Morning Scotland programme it was a very "challenging time", adding that all those on the frontline deserved to have the correct PPE to protect them from infection wherever they were working.

While nurses working in hospitals and health boards had access to equipment supplies, those working in the community and in care homes were facing challenges, Ms Fyffe said.

Part of the concern over PPE was that every shift was different depending on what patients nurses had to see and this made it difficult to predict how much equipment they would need.

She said: "The problem is with stock control - you just don't know when you're suddenly going to need more equipment.

"That means keeping up the equipment coming into Scotland and ensuring that it is delivered."

She added that this was a problem in the community too.

It began after Scottish Care - the body representing private care homes in Scotland - said the UK's four largest suppliers had said they were not sending to Scotland and instead prioritising "England, the English NHS and then English social care providers".

The Scottish government's Health Secretary, Jeane Freeman, raised the issue with the UK government's Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, who insisted ministers had not instructed any company to prioritise PPE for one nation over another.