BARNSLEY Hospital staff are reportedly choosing to self-isolate from their families due to shortages of vital equipment to protect them while they are at work.
With the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Barnsley this week surpassing 100, which includes three deaths – and planned increases in the number of healthcare workers to fight the spread of the virus – some staff have reported inadequate stocks of face masks and other personal protective equipment (PPE).
A nurse, who believes she may have contracted COVID-19, said staff ‘feel like lambs to the slaughter’ as they go to work on wards that are inadequately stocked with basic equipment.
She has had to live away from her family as she is scared of them potentially contracting the virus from her.
The nurse’s partner, who did not wish to be named, told the Chronicle: “I had to find her a proper FFP3 mask.
“She was on a ward where she might come into contact with the virus, and they’d taken the masks off it.
“She had to wear a surgical mask, which offers no protection against coronavirus.
“This virus has been confirmed as spreading through droplets going onto clothing and hair, so staff should be fully protected.
“They’re going to get ill. Not only because of the virus, but the stress and anxiety is going to affect everyone mentally.
“A lot of doctors and nurses are petrified of going in.”
A spokesperson for the hospital said management were ‘working dynamically’ to distribute PPE to its staff based on where it was needed.
“Like NHS organisations across the UK, Barnsley Hospital is working tirelessly to provide safe care for our patients whilst looking after our most precious resource, our staff,” said the spokesperson.
“We do have stocks of PPE and are working dynamically to manage the distribution across the hospital based on many factors including risk and need.
“To protect our staff, as a minimum, all our frontline staff working with patients are provided with and asked to wear masks as a matter of routine in line with national Public Health England guidance.
“We are working with the national teams who are managing the distribution of PPE stocks to individual hospitals to make sure we maintain our supply of this important equipment.
“We recognise and understand this is an incredibly difficult time for all NHS staff and here at Barnsley Hospital, we are immensely proud of the heroic efforts our staff are making.
“We would like to thank every single one of them for their absolute dedication at this time.”