Doctors in Unite (DiU) has organised a demonstration in London tomorrow (Tuesday 27 July) over the failure to offer proper PPE protection against airborne transmission to health and social care staff during the continuing coronavirus crisis.
Doctors in Unite is protesting at what it claims is the continued refusal of Public Health England (PHE) to review their guidance to properly protect NHS and social care staff against airborne transmission of Covid-19.
The socially distanced protest will be outside the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), 39 Victoria St, London SW1H 0EU at 18.00 tomorrow (Tuesday 27 July).
It is estimated that more than 1,500 health and social care workers have so far died of Covid-19 and more than 150,000 have ‘long Covid’. Tens of thousands of patients have caught Covid in hospital and over 8,000 of them have died.
However, DiU argues that despite very clear evidence, and agreement by the great majority of doctors and scientists, that Covid-19 is predominantly spread through the air, most health care staff are not adequately protected most of the time from risk of airborne transmission.
Despite concerted efforts by dozens of health organisations, including the BMA, RCN, Unite the Union and the GMB, the DHSC and PHE have refused to amend official guidance. The guidance has been described by the RCN as ‘fundamentally flawed’; it leaves hundreds of thousands of health care workers (HCWs) at risk of the Delta variant, and countless patients at risk of hospital acquired infection.
Chair of Doctors in Unite Dr Jackie Applebee said, “Enough is really enough. We cannot continue to bury our heads in the sand any longer and pretend that airborne transmission is not a risk everywhere, including hospitals wards, outpatient clinics and offices.
“Official guidelines for infection control are not only out of date, they are unfit for purpose. With the Delta wave of Covid hitting our hospitals and surgeries right now, all health care staff should be issued respirator masks like FFP3s without further delay.
“This issue should be at the top of health and social care secretary Sajid Javid’s in-tray and he needs to act with the utmost urgency to ensure our brave and dedicated NHS and social care colleagues have the best protective equipment available.”
Speakers at the demo will include Unite , United Voices of the World (UVW), Equality4BlackNurses, and Doctors in Unite. The XR Samba band will also be playing.
By Shaun Noble