Safe working for frontline staff across Lincolnshire must be a top priority

NHS, care and other frontline staff whose lives are on the line need immediate government action to fix inadequate personal protective equipment (PPE) supplies.

Government apologies and assurances the UK has all the PPE it needs are of no comfort to staff whose workplaces are running low.

Over the weekend workers from hospitals and care homes have expressed anger and fear to UNISON Lincolnshire Health branch about the absence of gowns, masks and gloves where they work.

Some of the stories sent to UNISON Lincolnshire Health include:

“I am being asked to work thirteen hour shifts as a nurse at a site I don’t normally work at. This means I’m having to work a fifteen hour day as it takes me an hour to drive each way. This is causing so much stress, the more we give the more they want.”

“I have just worked a twelve hour shift and we were on our last box of disposable gloves. When I asked my manager when we would get more she said she didn’t know. I am scared that I will contract Covid-19 from one of my patients and take it home to my family.”

UNISON East Midlands regional organiser Elliot Dean said:

“The time for government excuses and broken promises has passed. It’s vital that they now take urgent action to get personal protective equipment in place for all frontline staff who require it.

“Staff have been asked to retain disposable personal protective equipment for decontamination and reuse across Lincolnshire, while others have been asked to work without the Public Health England recommended safety kit.

“This is putting carers, nurses and other front line staff in an impossible position, having to choose between caring for patients and the safety of them and their families. 

“The health, well being and safety of staff must be a top priority so they can concentrate on tackling the crisis, not worrying about where the next piece of safety equipment will be coming from.”

As the COVID-19 virus spreads, find out what your rights at work are.