THE Army is being brought in to distribute masks and protective suits to NHS staff on the coronavirus frontline this week.
Hospital trusts have been told they will be receiving deliveries of personal protective equipment (PPE) such as masks, safety glasses, gloves, aprons and protective suits "around the clock".
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It comes after NHS staff warned they did not have the correct equipment to protect themselves as they treat hundreds of patients with Covid-19 – which has infected 5,683 people and caused 288 deaths in the UK.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock today revealed that army trucks will deliver the equipment to "all who need it".
Hospital trusts and other healthcare organisations are being told that while the aim is to deliver supplies in usual working hours, given the volume and scale of the operation, they will also receiving deliveries at evenings and weekends.
Mr Hancock said: "In the face of this unprecedented global emergency, never has the need to bolster our workforce and arm them with the vital tools they need to save lives been more crucial.
"We are taking urgent action to ensure dedicated frontline NHS and social care staff – who are working tirelessly to tackle this outbreak – feel supported. Today they are getting millions more PPE kits as part of that promise.
"We are working round the clock to make sure trucks are on the ground across the country delivering protective equipment to all who need it, so they are well-equipped to continue to fight the virus.”
Over the last three days, NHS England said "millions more items" of PPE had been delivered to hospitals, ambulance trusts, GP practices, pharmacists, care homes and hospices.
Mr Hancock told Sky News a PPE shipment was sent to every hospital over the weekend and he is making sure "there is a constant flow" but trusts need to let him know if there are gaps.