Guest article

I’m mad, I’m scared, I’m heartbroken – and we have no protection. Community healthworker speaks out

Guest article: “we kept asking about masks but we got nothing… We are being used as canon fodder.” But community healthworker worries about vulnerable people she might be infecting

A community healthworker responds to the government’s claim that it has delivered PPE to those on the coronavirus front line. She has asked to remain anonymous.

I work for the NHS in the community, covering quite a large area. Most of our patients are elderly and frail, with underlying conditions.

When this first started the only PPE (personal protective equipment) we had was thin plastic aprons and gloves, the standard PPE in our job. We kept asking about masks, but we got nothing. After a few weeks of begging we had 4 masks in a team of 25 and we were told to wear them only if visiting people confirmed as infected.

We kept asking for more – and kept getting told they were coming. Always coming but never arriving.

Luckily enough for my team we did not have any suspected or confirmed. But we raised the issue that surely if we are going in and out peoples homes, some times with many family members, we are putting them and us at risk.

We don’t know if they or we are asymptomatic and we are carrying it to next patient and the next. But our pleas and reasons fell on deaf ears.

Eventually 3 boxes of masks came, but they were just surgical masks. We asked should we not be wearing FFP3 masks [the standard recommended by the World Health Organisation] but were told “no, surgical masks are NICE [the UK’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence] guidelines”.

But even now we are only wearing them to confirmed or suspected cases. We are still wearing plastic aprons that only partially cover the front of our body, leaving our arms totally exposed and gloves.

We are scared for the patients our families and for us. We will carry on this way because the government know as healthcare professionals we would not desert our patients, We are being used as canon fodder.

The government are telling the over-70s with health problems to isolate for their safety. And then they send us in with no protection for them at all. I’m mad, I’m scared and I’m heartbroken.

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  1. Looking at the many failures of the Govt to do what even they know they ought to be doing maybe comes down to their failure with the Civil Service? For 10 years they got rid of the most expensive senior figures (because their salaries were highest?). These were the experienced experts and now they’re at home twiddling their thumbs. Lately civil servants have been portrayed as obstructive and urgently in need of appropriate deference to the political bosses. It’s not creating a ‘work together’ atmosphere that’s for sure!

  2. Words fail , really they do , this exposes the brutal reality of the Tories and their policies.
    I wonder if Skwawkbox could archive and store these case histories ready for when the reckoning at the end of this comes , that’s if there is a reckoning ?
    Each failure of the system down to and solely because of the Tories and their hatred of a good Socialist NHS .
    It must be documented now , the time for outrage is past , now we need to be cool calculating and remorseless in the gathering of evidence which can be used to bring to account those who are responsible for this .
    And for those who poffer pathetic excuses to cover for the Govt , then they should be faced with these very cases , again and again and again ..

    1. rob, I know what you mean but I’d say we need to spread the outrage to those who still believe the myth of Tory competence.

      1. Absolutely David and I was trying ( failing) to elucidate that in my rant .
        100% agreed mate.

  3. Myths of Tory competence exposed – And lies –

    Primary school arithmetic. We know what the usual death rate is. The increase in total deaths in and out of hospital could be put down as most likely, due to Covid-19 ➕ Tory incompetence & deliberate failure to test, trace and equip frontline staff. The spread and fatalities are DIRECTLY due to TORY IDEOLOGY. Tory B side Starmer, Yvette Cooper, WMD Blair, Streeting et al will be no better. They ARE the same old same old. Only TRUE Labour could have prevented this situation. Only TRUE Labour can prevent this happening again. The leader & dep election should be paused. Jeremy should remain and operate in a new way. An EFFECTIVE ROBUST TEAM and of course Richard Burgon to fill the deputy post mal occupied by Twatson. We can ALL change. Self assess and change. MSM crit is irrelevant. Pause the election. This is no time to have a Tory PM and a B side Tory opposition of Kier Starmer, Nandy dangled attached and dangling from the anal worm 45 minute WMD LIAR Tony Blair. We do not need anymore Iraq invasions. Blair is yet to apologise. We must not let the creature slither in with Kier Starmer. No pets of the parasitic 1% should ever be enabled. We already have the Tories for that.🌹🌹🌹

  4. This is a truly terrible situation and one which will lead to fatalities in both NHS staff and those they are treating.
    The staff concerned have a dilemma – do they go from one vulnerable patient to another without protective clothing thereby exposing themselves and their patients to the virus or do they stay away from the sick and vulnerable and watch them suffer from a distance with some dying due to the absence of care.
    The solution is easy – provide every NHS worker with PPE .”Paying tribute” to the front line NHS staff costs nothing but providing them with PPE costs money which the government is unwilling to spend . That is why the nurses and doctors fighting the battle against the corona virus are left in this awful dilemma and why thousands of people including NHS staff will die

  5. There will be a reckoning for the simple reason the current cost of Austerity has come home to roost
    Never again
    But that’s what we said after Brown and Obama bailed out the banks

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