Majority of health workers think government has failed to protect them against coronavirus

PUBLISHED: 00:00 16 April 2020 | UPDATED: 12:31 16 April 2020

Chief medical officer for England Chris Whitty (left) alongside prime minister Boris Johnson and chief scientific advisor Sir Patrick Vallance (right_ during a press conference.  Picture: Simon Dawson/PA Wire

Chief medical officer for England Chris Whitty (left) alongside prime minister Boris Johnson and chief scientific advisor Sir Patrick Vallance (right_ during a press conference. Picture: Simon Dawson/PA Wire

More than seven in 10 healthcare workers do not think the government has done enough to protect them from coronavirus.

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A poll of almost 1,000 workers - including nurses, midwives, doctors, allied health professionals and managers - found 72% claim the government has not done enough to provide personal protective equipment (PPE) and testing.

The survey, conducted by YouGov for the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), also found a third believe their health has suffered since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

This figure rose to eight out of 10 workers in London, which has seen a large number of Covid-19 cases.

The study also found that one in three of all healthcare workers felt the crisis had already had a detrimental impact on their physical health, with this most commonly said by doctors and nurses.


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A separate poll of the general public showed 96% supported more interventions to protect health and care professionals.

Harry Quilter-Pinner, head of IPPR’s better health and care programme, said: “Our heroic health and care staff are risking their own lives on a daily basis in order to save ours, but they cannot do this if they get sick themselves.

“The government must act now to ensure they have all the protective equipment they need to do their job properly and safely.

“There is a particular problem in the social care system where there are severe shortages of protective and testing equipment.


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“For too long social care has been an afterthought. Care workers are risking their lives just like NHS staff. At this time of crisis we must finally deliver parity of esteem between our health and care systems.”

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “We are working around the clock to give the NHS and the wider social care sector the equipment and support they need to tackle this global outbreak.

“Since the start of the outbreak, we’ve delivered over 923 million pieces of PPE to the frontline and have published clear guidance setting out the safest levels of PPE to protect healthcare workers in different settings, in line with WHO advice.

“We are also working closely with Public Health England to monitor the impact on care homes. We have now tested over 50,000 NHS staff or members of their household and are working hard to increase testing capacity across the social care sector.”

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