Stranded shipment of safety equipment from Turkey leaves Lincolnshire hospital staff in ‘impossible position’

Frontline health staff in Lincolnshire are facing impossible choices as they balance their own health with that of their patients after serious delays to a consignment of imported personal protective equipment (PPE).

The RAF has sent planes to collect much-needed PPE which is still sitting on the tarmac at a Turkish airport but should have arrived in the UK on Sunday.

The 84-tonne cargo of essential equipment includes 400,000 gowns which are desperately needed by staff in the NHS and other care professions.

United Lincolnshire NHS Trust has said it has only a three-day supply of gowns at the current usage rate to be shared across its hospitals.

UNISON East Midlands Regional Organiser, Elliot Dean, said: “The time for government excuses and broken promises has passed.

“Ministers promised that vital supplies of protective equipment would be in the UK on Sunday, yet the planes sent to collect it are still sitting on the runway in Turkey today.

“This delay is putting Lincolnshire’s frontline 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 here.