We were concerned to learn through media reports at the weekend about potential shortages of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) across NHS England, and the change in guidance which was issued by Public Health England in response to this matter.
Throughout this crisis our College has been actively engaged with government, NHS bodies and employers across the UK in order to ensure that your voice is heard to constructively inform the official response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Like other Royal Colleges we were disappointed that the updated guidance was produced without consultation.
We all know that it is vital for the appropriate PPE to be available for the task in hand. The sourcing and supplies of PPE clearly remains challenging for all parts of the NHS and for social care.
Notwithstanding this, while we have a professional obligation to provide the best possible care that we can for our patients, we must also seek to protect ourselves if we are to be able to discharge this care effectively. Employers have a responsibility to ensure supply of adequate protection for their employees. The advice to our membership remains that in a situation where risk of infection is high and the PPE with which you have been provided is inadequate, you must assess the risk to your own health. The GMC provides guidance on this issue.
We will always respect and support your decisions in this regard.
As this crisis continues, we will continue to do everything we can to stand up for the profession and for the patients in our care. I would like to thank you again for your commitment and dedication during this time of unprecedented strain.
Professor Jackie Taylor,
President, Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow