Nursing professionals across the UK’s health and care sector must be supported with personal protective equipment (PPE) as they continue to deliver essential care, demands the RCN.
As the COVID-19 pandemic escalates, nursing staff continue to visit patients in their own homes, care homes, hospices and other social care settings, supporting them with complex conditions, such as dementia, learning difficulties and physical disability. However, nurses and nursing support workers are struggling to obtain adequate supplies of PPE and hand sanitiser, and do not have access to COVID-19 testing.
In the UK care home network alone, more than 19,000 care homes provide care to over 270,000 high-risk patients. Nursing staff are caring for residents with a range of complex clinical needs, without the PPE to keep themselves, their families and their patients safe.
Theresa Fyffe, RCN independent sector lead, said: “It is unconscionable that frontline nursing staff working in the community, care homes and hospices are still inadequately protected to carry out their work safely.
“Our members are telling us that they simply are not getting the PPE they need, and there is evidence of hospices and care homes asking for donations of gloves, goggles and aprons; this situation simply cannot continue. I am calling on the government to urgently prioritise the flow of equipment which they say is available, to ensure every single member of the nursing profession is safe to go to work.
“Every minute we wait is a minute too long. All staff, no matter where they work, must feel safe. The RCN will continue to raise this issue until it is resolved.”