Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/1084/30689
Dispatches from the front: PPE chaos goes on
Furious about deceit over expired PPE
I just found out that the 'FFP3' mask I've been wearing expired in 2012. The other boxes supposedly expired in May 2019. They actually expired in 2016, but stickers have been put over that with 2019. I am furious.
An NHS nurse
Major shortage of gowns as supply chaos continues
Although the South West has not been under the same pressure regarding Covid-19, there is still a crisis in provision of PPE. Most trusts only plan three or four days in advance, reflecting both the lack of equipment and the fragmented distribution system.
In particular, there is a major shortage of protective gowns, a situation that could have serious consequences for the safety of staff. It's clear that the chaotic response to this crisis, and the years of underinvestment in the NHS, combined with privatisation, have led to the unnecessary deaths of many health workers.
An NHS porter
Health staff not to blame for spread of Covid-19
There is much talk in NHS trusts about patients catching Covid in hospital, and how staff must keep up social distancing, handwashing and so on. The implication is that it's staff's fault it's spreading!
This is a real kick in the teeth for staff, but hospital authorities are terrified they are going to get sued at the end of this. We must put the blame were it lies.
Our local trust has made Herculean efforts to make sure we have the right kit and we are safe, repeatedly sending out emails and updates on keeping staff safe, and not doing procedures without full PPE.
Capitalism is only interested in providing healthcare so the bosses have a workforce able to work to produce a profit. The Tories are their representatives in government - they aren't 'protecting' the NHS, they are trying to protect themselves against revolution.
That's why they allowed the NHS in the first place after World War Two. Workers were angry and wanted change. It's going to be the same after the pandemic subsides.
An NHS health professional
Shifting advice on PPE and pressure to return to work
In our trust we've seen changes in advice on when to use gowns. The other week, the staff were told to wear them for certain procedures, but now all of a sudden gowns are not required.
A lot of staff just feel they have to go along with it. Reps have told staff not to carry out examinations if they don't feel safe. Some staff are buying their own gowns.
Other staff, in the private sector, having been sent home for 12 weeks, are having telephone occupational health risk assessments and being asked to return to work. It is often difficult to socially distance in a hospital environment, and having been initially risk-assessed as being vulnerable, the assessment suddenly changes.
Understandably, these members of staff are very worried. They have the 'choice' of taking remaining holiday, or unpaid leave, or returning to work in a precarious work situation.
In Brighton, staff have plenty of PPE and not so many cases. But staff work 12.5-hour shifts with three breaks of 30 mins. It's exhausting and uncomfortable. Wearing the full PPE, you can't have a drink of water for those hours in the get-up.
An NHS imaging worker
In The Socialist 28 April 2020:
Lessons from history
Organising during coronavirus