Hard-pressed, heroic NHS staff continuing to battle the covid-19 crisis are being badly let down by a government which, 10 months into this crisis, is still failing to ensure that the workforce is getting the protection it needs, Unite said on December 31.
Commenting on the increasing reports of a system under siege, Unite national officer for the health sector, Colenzo Jarrett-Thorpe, said that the union is now receiving concerning reports of an absence of the correct protective equipment (PPE) for some NHS staff treating the sick.
“From paramedic to porter, the catering assistant to biomedical scientist, the system is under severe strain,” Jarrett-Thorpe said.
“Years of underfunding and chronic staff shortages have left the NHS badly ill-equipped to cope with what is now a rampant second strain of the virus. The mounting pressures are taking a heavy toll on an already exhausted workforce.”
And just when exhausted NHS workers are at breaking point – we seem to be still fighting to keep staff safe by having access to the right PPE. When will this major issue be resolved?
Jarrett-Thorpe added, “To add to this appalling sense of siege, we are again receiving distressing reports about a lack of suitable PPE for staff treating highly infectious, sick patients and rising numbers of staff self-isolating or contracting Covid-19.
‘Speak up’ plea
“Unite is calling on NHS staff to speak up about this; let us know what PPE is needed and we will do all in our power to get the employers to get this to you with urgency.”
He continued, “Our NHS staff are heroic, of that there is no doubt, but they are also exhausted, their mental health is suffering and morale is sinking. They struggle on, caring for us despite the mixed messaging on public health and the absence of leadership from the top of government.
“It is absolutely sickening that despite the cushy contracts and the cronies’ bank balances swollen with public money, overworked and underpaid NHS staff on the frontline of this crisis are not getting the support and protection that they need.
“The very least this government should be doing for them is to keep them as safe as possible – while they give their all to keep us safe.
“The worst of this wave has yet to be upon us. The government needs to get a grip, show leadership and act to do everything needed to protect frontline workers and the public,” he concluded.
Compiled by Amanda Campbell @amanda_unite