Medical staff are crying out for extra safety measures to be put in place as they fear for their lives while fighting COVID-19.
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Senior doctors told The Times they believe there is a shortage of hazmat suits and they are scared for their own safety.
A senior London doctor, who is helping with hospital preparations for the pandemic, said: “We are worried that healthcare workers will die.”
They said: “The rest of the world is providing staff with full hazmat and we are restricting it.”
"I am scared. Hearing that high viral load could lead to deaths in younger people is scary. At the same time we are understanding that we are not being provided with full personal protective equipment. It does make you feel vulnerable.”
The number of confirmed cases continued to skyrocket to 1,950 with 71 deaths and a 45-year-old became the youngest Brit to die of the virus.
One A&E doctor in the north of England said, in comments posted online by a colleague: “I feel betrayed, I feel scared, I feel like we are basically lambs to the slaughter. Paper masks and plastic aprons.”
I feel betrayed, I feel scared, I feel like we are basically lambs to the slaughter. Paper masks and plastic aprons.
Another said they felt like "cannon fodder".
They said: “It feels like the choice to be exposed to risk is being taken out of our hands.”
Ambulance workers were also turning up to shifts to find "no hand sanitiser, face masks or wipes and faulty testing equipment" according to the GMB union.
Another consultant said the lack of protective measures was a "serious, serious breach of trust".
It feels like the choice to be exposed to risk is being taken out of our hands.
Official guidance on when to wear the protective equipment – including specialists masks, a visor and two pairs of gloves – had been changed to only a handful of circumstances.
Unless doctors are doing "aerosol-generating procedures" such as ventilating a patient, they only need to wear their normal surgical apron.
The guidance said surgical masks were enough, based on scientists' belief the virus is spread by larger droplets.
But one consultant said: “If you are getting close, with someone coughing in your face, I would imagine you are at risk.”
Their hospital, one of the UK’s specialist centres for treating infectious diseases, did not have enough "FFP3" masks to fit all workers who need them.
FFP3 masks block finer particles than standard surgical masks.
Different people may need different types or sizes because of their face shape.
Doctors said standards had fallen in hospitals as hand gel was being stolen from patients beds.
Former Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said medical staff need to be given crucial protection, or they will die while fighting the virus.
He told BBC Newsnight: "Doctors do die on the front line when they're dealing with this epidemic, as we've seen tragically in China."
"They have the right to proper protective equipment and there are too many gaps at the moment."
He added: "I think it is totally wrong that doctors and nurses are putting themselves in harms way."
Mr Hunt said the problem was not a shortage of equipment.
He said: "The good news is we heard this afternoon the NHS does believe it has enough equipment but it's not getting through everywhere… there are too many gaps."
Chief exec of NHS England Sir Simon Stevens told MPs yesterday the health service had more than 28 million of the "most intense" face masks, with more in production.
He said: "A lot of the Chinese supply for some of the more basic items has been disrupted so we are going to need to ramp up [domestic] production for gowns in particular, and some of the face masks."
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