As an organisation led by and for frontline nurses we’re always happy when our members come to us with ways to build power to protect ourselves and our patients. That’s why when Holly and Kelly, two members, decided to write this letter to employers and this Government we were more than willing to help them get the word out.
The letter demands that we change the guidance for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for frontline workers to bring us back into line with the guidance used in the 2003 Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome pandemic. Our PPE guidance has never made sense, with a simple apron and mask that does not form a seal around our mouth and nose, leaving us exposed. With the new UK strain displaying increased transmissibility, it is even more important that we take action.
Here’s what Holly and Kelly had to say about it
Holly, a Nurses United member and frontline nurse from Yorkshire:
”The evidence of transmission and the level of PPE required is clear, we need standardised national guidance to be able to protect the lives of patients and frontline workers. The current guidance has been based on what was available rather than what is required.”
“As a healthcare worker, it made me feel exploited and vulnerable, wanting justice and safety for those that should have it. Public Health England has failed to bring practice in line with the scientific evidence, with this government choosing to cut costs rather than allow workers and patients to have safety. We need to see the same level of protection found in other countries.”
Kelly, a Nurses United member and frontline nurse from the South East:
“I was one of the first tracked and traced in this country in February last year and I had paramedics visiting me in hazmat suits to take swabs while I had to isolate. A month later and we were all at work in paper masks and flimsy pinnies but the necessity of a lockdown did not match with the PPE we had to wear and still doesn’t. I feel the provision of PPE for infectious disease in this country has not been handled well and I would like to see evidenced protection for key workers put in place.”
What can I do?
The letter is here for you to download and share with your employers, MPs, and your loved ones. When you’re sharing this at work, we’d suggest you speak to people about it within your team and try to do it as a group:
Our Lead Organiser and Registered Nurse, Anthony Johnson, was out talking about this just last week so please retweet it and get the word out about what our staff are facing: