COVID-19: Healthcare workers fear policies risk infecting new patients

Eir NolsoeData Journalist
Connor IbbetsonData Journalist
April 09, 2020, 12:24 PM UTC

Nearly two in five healthcare workers are having to treat patients both with and without coronavirus, and only 14% have good access to PPE – prompting fears of spreading the disease through hospitals

New YouGov research shows that 37% of patient-facing healthcare workers have tended to both patients with and without suspected or confirmed coronavirus in the past two weeks. This figure is especially high among NHS staff (43%) and, in particular, NHS hospital staff (48%).

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Most healthcare workers who have worked with both categories of patients believe it puts those who don’t yet have the disease at risk. Over two in five (41%) say the risk to patients is significant, while 35% say it’s moderate.

A minority feel more reassured - with 17% saying the risk of spreading the virus is low, while only 3% say there is no risk at all.

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NHS workers lack adequate personal protective equipment

Personal protective equipment (PPE) is vital to help contain the spread of the virus. While 43% of NHS staff work with patients with and without coronavirus, only 10% say that all PPE is easily available.

Supply levels are similar for special protective gear designed to protect workers from viral infections, such as N95-rated masks, which are in good supply for only 14% of NHS staff. Overall 61% of staff say the protection they need is not in good supply. 

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A third (34%) of NHS workers say the vital correct PPE is available, but not in high enough quantities. A total of 27% say they do not have access to the correct PPE at all, however 23% do have access to other, less suitable forms of PPE.

Image: Getty

See full results here