Medics Who Speak out About Protective Equipment Shortages ‘Threatened’ by Hospitals

WOLVERHAMPTON, ENGLAND - MARCH 12: A NHS nurse holds a Coronavirus testing kit as she speaks to the media at a drive through Coronavirus testing site in a car park on March 12, 2020 in Wolverhampton, England. The National Health Service facility has been set up in a car park …
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Doctors and nurses working for the United Kingdom’s socialised healthcare system have been warned that they could lose their jobs for sharing information about medical equipment shortages during the coronavirus pandemic.

Nation Health Service (NHS) workers have been gagged from informing the British public about the lack of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) at hospitals throughout the nation. Those who take to social media or talk to the press about the shortages risk losing their jobs, according to frontline medical staff.

“Doctors across the frontlines are extremely concerned about the lack of personal protective equipment [PPE]. Many have told us they have tried to raise concerns through the proper channels but have been warned against taking these concerns further,” the president of the Doctors’ Association UK (DAUK), Dr Samantha Batt Rawden, told The Guardian.

“At this time when we desperately need every single doctor on the frontline, some have had their careers threatened, and at least two doctors have been sent home from work. This is unacceptable. Doctors have a moral duty to make their concerns regarding Covid-19 public if these cannot be resolved locally,” Rawden went on to say.

According to the DAUK, one doctor who raised concern about the lack of medical masks was told by hospital management that: “If we hear of these concerns going outside these four walls your career and your position here will be untenable.”

This week, some 10,000 NHS workers wrote to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, decrying the lack of PPE including medical masks, gloves, goggles, and gowns. The workers fear that the lack of reliable equipment will endanger themselves and their families as they try to care for COVID-19 patients.

The government has claimed that there is no shortage of medical supplies in the country. However, nurses at Northwick Park Hospital shared photos on social media showing them wearing bin bags amidst a shortage of medical gowns. Doctors and medical staff throughout the nation have reported similar instances.

“Our ward covers confirmed Covid-19 positive patients. I was on it all weekend. We only have plastic aprons, gloves, and surgical masks. There is one shared visor per bay (of six patients) for all healthcare workers. No gowns,” a medical consultant in Gloucestershire told The Times.

Medical staff have been warned that sharing images online of their makeshift protective equipment could face “disciplinary” measures from the NHS bosses.

Staff at Southend Hospital in Essex were given a warning on March 26th, with a memo that read: “The posting of inappropriate social media commentary or the posting of photographs of staff in uniform who are not complying with IPC [infection prevention and control] standards and social distancing requirements is unacceptable. Such behaviour will be considered under the disciplinary policy.”

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