Your web browser is outdated and may be insecure

The RCN recommends using an updated browser such as Microsoft Edge or Google Chrome

Nursing staff still under pressure to work without PPE and gowns

16 May 2020

More than a third of nursing staff (34%) say they’re still under pressure to care for patients with possible or confirmed COVID-19 without adequate personal protective equipment (PPE).

Protective equipment including gloves, a mask and goggles

Almost a quarter (23%) of respondents to the RCN’s latest member survey on PPE who need gowns said there weren’t enough to use, despite promised deliveries. A further 34% said they were concerned about the supply of gowns for their next shift.

More than half of respondents (58%) said they’d raised concerns about PPE with more than a quarter (27%) of those saying their concerns had not been addressed.

The survey also found that of those working in the highest risk environments:

• almost one in five respondents (19%) said there were not enough respirator masks for them to use, with a further 35% concerned about the supply for their next shift
• 44% of respondents are still being asked to reuse single use equipment
• 32% had not been adequately fit tested for respirator masks with the most common reasons being due to there being too many different brands/types of mask to be able to fit test them all, or that their employer had not scheduled fit testing.

RCN Chief Executive & General Secretary Dame Donna Kinnair said: “We continue to hear that our members are still not adequately protected. This is particularly concerning, especially if the country faces the threat of a second wave of COVID-19 cases.

“We have repeatedly raised the issue with UK governments and have heard assurances that PPE is being delivered. But this survey – and the direct contact I have with members – shows this is not the experience on the ground in hospitals as well as in care homes.”


Page last updated - 11/01/2022