UK still doesn't have enough PPEs for doctors: Study

Edited By: Bharat Sharma WION Web Team
New Delhi, India Published: Apr 27, 2020, 03:00 PM(IST)

(Representative Image) Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

To be put in the line of direct particles containing COVID-19, a doctor has to wear a head to toe PPE gear

United Kingdom’s doctors haven’t been shy in talking about shortages faced by them since the COVID-19 pandemic took over the country.

However, a new research suggests that doctors are still finding it hard to procure personal protection kits even after reaffirmation from authorities over the last few weeks.

Very recently, the Royal College of Physicians condemned the lack of preparedness by calling it “truly terrible” while adding that the lives of frontline workers continues to be at risk due to the non-availability of PPE kits.

A survey undertaken by the college claims that doctors who undertake AGPs (Aerosol-generating procedures) whereby people are asked to expel droplets from their mouths, over 37 per cent don’t have access to a visor while over 31 per cent don’t have full-length gowns.


To be put in the line of direct particles containing COVID-19, a doctor has to wear a head to toe PPE gear.

The survey witnessed responses by 2,129 doctors, The Guardian reported.

Turns out, over 27 per cent doctors claimed to have no access the kits required to ensure their safety. In the beginning of April, the number was much lower - at 22 per cent.

This could in turn disrupt the treatment process, as doctors may refuse to treat patients in the absence of kits.

Are masks the key?

The World Health Organization (WHO) has repeatedly asserted that face masks are solely for healthcare workers, not the general public. However, the Chinese authorities have claimed that masks should be worn by everyone at all times.

Many studies have also found that the rate of infection can be lowered by ensuring masks are being worn by both the infected and the non-infected.

“Wearing a medical mask is one of the prevention measures that can limit the spread of certain respiratory viral diseases, including Covid-19. However, the use of a mask alone is insufficient to provide an adequate level of protection, and other measures should also be adopted,” the WHO said.

However, masks are not the straightaway solution, for the frontals of these masks could be infected with the virus and could still infect people when they take it off.

Additionally, the world is currently witnessing a shortage of medical grade masks, putting the lives of healthcare workers at risk.

Doctors fear for their lives

A separate survey claims that over 61 per cent of family doctors in the UK are now refusing to treat patients in the absence of availability of PPEs. Additionally, 74 per cent claim that they fear for their life and health.

Most doctors have switched to online consultations, but many requiring surgeries and hands-on treatment are visiting their doctors.

Although many GP appointments are now being conducted by telephone or video link, some patients are still coming into surgeries for a face-to-face consultation.

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