“WE ARE NOT DISPOSABLE NOBODY GOES TO WORK TO DIE”
Nurses at Guy’s and St. Thomas’s hospitals in London block Westminster Bridge on International Workers Memorial Day, in anger at the advice being given out by Public Health England on PPE, and the awful response of the government in supplying PPE.
The action here was even more impressive because the nurses here were mainly ICU nurses who already have it – but are fighting for others to get the same protection.
Tens of thousands of people across the UK have now died with coronavirus, including more than 100 NHS staff and other healthcare workers.
Among them are a pregnant nurse who died before she could meet her daughter; a father-of-seven whose family say he was let down over a lack of personal protective equipment; and a grandmother who colleagues say was one the unsung heroes of the NHS.
Many of them came to the UK from other countries to work for the NHS. Most were working on the frontline and caring for patients, while some were retired but continued to work.
You can read their individual story’s here in this heartfelt memorial page dedicated to their sacrifice.
The World Health Care Organization gives warning on PPE
Shortage of personal protective equipment endangering health workers worldwide
WHO calls on industry and governments to increase manufacturing by 40 per cent to meet rising global demand
The World Health Organization has warned that severe and mounting disruption to the global supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) – caused by rising demand, panic buying, hoarding and misuse – is putting lives at risk from the new coronavirus and other infectious diseases.
Healthcare workers rely on personal protective equipment to protect themselves and their patients from being infected and infecting others.
But shortages are leaving doctors, nurses and other frontline workers dangerously ill-equipped to care for COVID-19 patients, due to limited access to supplies such as gloves, medical masks, respirators, goggles, face shields, gowns, and aprons.
“Without secure supply chains, the risk to healthcare workers around the world is real. Industry and governments must act quickly to boost supply, ease export restrictions and put measures in place to stop speculation and hoarding. We can’t stop COVID-19 without protecting health workers first,” said WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
Since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, prices have surged. Surgical masks have seen a sixfold increase, N95 respirators have trebled and gowns have doubled.
Supplies can take months to deliver and market manipulation is widespread, with stocks frequently sold to the highest bidder.
WHO has so far shipped nearly half a million sets of personal protective equipment to 47 countries,* but supplies are rapidly depleting.
Based on WHO modelling, an estimated 89 million medical masks are required for the COVID-19 response each month. For examination gloves, that figure goes up to 76 million, while international demand for goggles stands at 1.6 million per month.
Recent WHO guidance calls for the rational and appropriate use of PPE in healthcare settings, and the effective management of supply chains.
WHO is working with governments, industry and the Pandemic Supply Chain Network to boost production and secure allocations for critically affected and at-risk countries.
To meet rising global demand, WHO estimates that industry must increase manufacturing by 40 per cent.
Governments should develop incentives for industry to ramp up production. This includes easing restrictions on the export and distribution of personal protective equipment and other medical supplies.
Every day, WHO is providing guidance, supporting secure supply chains, and delivering critical equipment to countries in need.