| 3 March 2024, Sunday |

Health staff in UK appeal for better protection against Covid-19 virus

More than 20 healthcare organizations in UK, including those representing nurses, doctors, surgeons and therapists – have united in an unprecedented appeal for stronger defenses against coronavirus.

Healthcare organizations, will virtually meet with UK officials on Thursday, to say the current guidance leaves them vulnerable to infection, especially by new variants. They will argue that other countries, including the United States, protect their health workers with higher-grade equipment.

It is thought to be the first time health and care organizations have united on a single issue in this way – a sign of the desperation many feel about the need for staff to be kept safe.

The delegation will include representatives of the British Medical Association, the Royal College of Nursing and many other professional organizations and unions.

On the government side will be about 20 of the most senior officials from all four UK nations, many involved in setting the guidelines on personal protective equipment (PPE).

With an estimated 1,000 health and care workers killed by Covid in the UK, the plea is for the risks of airborne transmission to be recognized in hospitals and other care settings.

That means all staff caring for Covid patients being issued with masks specifically designed to guard against infectious aerosols.

The US government is among many that require health workers to wear what are called N95 respirators – widely judged to be more effective than the standard-issue surgical masks mandated in the UK.