DAUK in Medscape: Are health professionals being gagged over PPE shortages?

A recent BMJ report suggested that some doctors had been warned off talking to the media about their concerns regarding PPE shortages. Health Secretary Matt Hancock has backed the right of NHS workers to speak out publicly about shortages insisting that, “people should be free to talk about what happens at work”.

Paul Daniels, a solicitor at Keystone Law, advised that “Employers have a legal duty of care under the Control of Substances Hazardous Health 2002 (COSHH) to assess and reduce the risks from exposure to biological hazards. A breach of that duty, like failing to provide sufficient gowns or masks, would be unlawful.”

Even so there is a sense that people don’t want to stick their heads above the parapet in case it has damaging personal consequences for them. The Doctors’ Association UK has said that some GPs have been told by local CCGs not to talk to the press and to avoid posting on social media about any shortages.