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More than a third of GPs still without eye protection, says BMA

by Eleanor Philpotts
20 April 2020

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Over a third (34%) of GPs still lack eye protection, according to a survey of 2,200 GPs carried out by the BMA.

More than two thirds further said they are not receiving regular and sufficient supply of eye protection.

The survey, which comes as the UK Government is struggling to supply the NHS frontline with PPE, singled out gowns and eye protection as particular problems.

BMA council chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul said: ‘Two months into the Covid-19 crisis in Britain, we shouldn’t still be hearing that doctors feel unprotected when they go to work.

‘The Government says that one billion items will soon have been shipped, and while there have been signs of improvement, our research clearly shows that equipment is not reaching all doctors working on the front line.’

He said the BMA has been ‘inundated with approaches from companies offering to do their bit to supply the NHS’.

‘This is a truly sorry state of affairs, and we renew our call for the Government to work with manufacturers to ramp up domestic supply.’

He went on to appeal to the health secretary to ‘get this problem sorted so that doctors, and their colleagues across the health and social care sector, can treat patients without putting their own health and lives at risk’.

‘Too many doctors and healthcare staff have already lost their lives. We cannot afford to risk losing any more.’

It comes as there have been 49 verified deaths of NHS staff from Covid-19 to date, although the real number is thought to be higher.

Last week, the PHE updated advice on PPE in a ‘shortage’ situation, saying NHS staff could re-use items including facemasks and eye protection.