Health and social care workers could be asked to volunteer to look after people with Covid-19 without wearing protective equipment in the event of extreme shortages, according to proposals seen by the Guardian.
Councils oversee a range of services which require PPE but which are outside the NHS supply chain. These include care homes, pharmacies, mortuary and funeral services, children’s homes and community mental health services. While these services have access to the national PPE stockpile there are sometimes shortages of key items. The PPE situation in NHS hospitals has improved since the start of the pandemic but gaps in community provision continue.
Dr Jenny Vaughan, law and policy lead at the Doctors’ Association, said: “Nobody should be put at unnecessary risk just for going in and doing their job. We simply don’t know if having a positive antibody test confers safety and if it does, for how long. Asking staff, when there is no PPE, to expose themselves to risk in this way is not acceptable.