UK medics asked to reuse gowns due to shortage

Updated: Apr 19, 2020, 08:17 IST | Agencies | London

He said that national leaders have left 'no stone unturned" but gowns that were ordered weeks ago are currently only arriving in "fits and starts'

Members of clinical staff work the Royal Albert Edward Infirmary in Wigan, England. Pic/AFP
Members of clinical staff work the Royal Albert Edward Infirmary in Wigan, England. Pic/AFP

Doctors and nurses in England will be asked to treat Coronavirus patients without fully protective gowns and to reuse equipment due to shortage fears, a media report said on Saturday.

The decision came in a reversal of guidance to hospitals from Public Health England (PHE) on Friday. Earlier this week, it was reported that the plan was being considered as a "last resort". It comes as National Health Service (NHS) providers warned some hospitals' supplies could run out in 24 hours. Chris Hopson, head of the association, which represents healthcare trusts across England, said in a tweet: "We have now reached the point where the national stock of fully fluid repellent gowns and long-sleeved laboratory coats will be exhausted in the next twenty-four to forty-eight hours."

He said that national leaders have left "no stone unturned" —but gowns that were ordered weeks ago are currently only arriving in "fits and starts". PHE changed its guidance, which until now required long-sleeved, disposable, fluid-repellent gowns for people treating COVID-19 patients. Now it says that if these gowns were not available, staff can wear washable medical gowns or non-fluid- repellent equipment. At least 50 NHS workers have died after contracting the virus. The UK has recorded a total of 1,04,769 Coronavirus cases with 14,607 deaths.

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