Access to adequate PPE ‘still patchy’ for nurses, RCN head tells Question Time

Dame Donna Kinnair claims provision is particularly poor outside of hospitals 

Picture: BBC

Nurses’ access to adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) is ‘still patchy’, the RCN’s general secretary has claimed.

Speaking on BBC One’s Question Time on 4 June, Dame Donna Kinnair said: ‘There are some hospitals that are getting it [PPE], but we know there are many care homes that are struggling to receive PPE equipment.

‘We also know that district nurses are still struggling to get proper PPE.’

Responding to Professor Kinnair’s claims, a Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: ‘We’ve brought together the NHS, industry and the armed forces to create a PPE distribution network that has so far delivered over 1.6 billion pieces of PPE to those who need it.’

Higher number of COVID-19 deaths among BAME staff 

Another topic discussed on Question Time was a Public Health England (PHE) report that revealed people from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds were more likely to die from COVID-19.

During the discussion, Professor Kinnair was asked if BAME nurses should be prioritised for PPE.

She replied that the report does not clarify if the higher risk is linked to occupation or exposure to COVID-19.

But she added: ‘We know that the viral load increases the more exposed you are to the virus, and many BAME people work in front-line positions,’ she said.

Possible redeployment of vulnerable staff

Professor Kinnair said staff should be provided with as much protection as possible, which could include redeploying people with underlying health conditions away from the front line.

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