BORIS JOHNSON is facing calls to intervene personally to ensure NHS workers get the masks, gloves and other protection they need while treating Covid-19 patients.
In a letter to the prime minister, the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) said there is a need to ensure adequate stocks of personal protective equipment (PPE).
It comes as the armed forces were being drafted in to help distribute PPE supplies to the health service across the country.
The letter from the RCN added that nurses require testing so that staff with possible symptoms know whether they are infected or not.
Earlier, health secretary Matt Hancock said a huge amount of work had been done to get PPE to the front line after medics reported a lack of stock. He said he also wants to increase testing of staff and hopes to make an announcement within the next few days.
In her letter to the PM, Dame Donna Kinnair, chief executive of the RCN, said its members have been ‘unstinting in their dedication and professionalism’ and ‘must be supported by the government and health sector in return’. She added: ‘We ask you to personally intervene and act to ensure enough supply of PPE and testing for Covid-19 is available for all nursing staff and our colleagues across the health and care system.’
After a doctors’ leader said earlier this week they felt they were being treated like ‘lambs to the slaughter’, Mr Hancock admitted there have been ‘challenges’.
He told BBC Breakfast: ‘We have brought in the military to help with the logistics of getting masks out to everybody who needs them.’
He said he was ‘determined to ensure that the right kit gets to the right hospital, the right ambulance service, the right doctor’s surgery, right across the country’.
It comes amid reports that a number of medics are seriously ill after becoming infected with Covid-19, including a nurse with no underlying health issues.
NHS England said millions more items of PPE had been delivered over the past few days to hospitals, ambulance trusts and care homes, among others.