Businesses across the country asked to help care workers left without protection

1 April 2020, 15:54

Old people stock
Old people stock. Picture: PA

A national shortage of masks and gloves was putting them at risk, councils have said.

Tattooists, nail bars and vets are among businesses across the country that have been asked to help protect carers by donating masks and gloves.

Councils have issued pleas to firms, particularly ones which are currently unable to operate, to donate personal protective equipment (PPE).

And a Labour MP has written to the Prime Minister to tell him how care home staff were still working without the equipment to protect them and elderly residents.

In the West Midlands, Sandwell Council issued a plea for fluid repellent face masks, single use gloves and aprons for carers visiting vulnerable people.

It said tattoo shops, nail and beauty salons, manufacturers and other businesses which used PPE but were not currently operating, were asked to give what they can.

Bridgend Council said it had received supplies from the Welsh government and had placed PPE orders for its social care staff, but asked for any unwanted masks, blue gloves and plastic aprons.

North Somerset Council said care workers were staffing jobs without the necessary PPE “due to supplies drying up” and new stocks were not expected to reach the South West until 6 April.

Coronavirus
A paramedic wearing personal protective equipment (Victoria Jones/PA)

It called for any local schools, colleges or other businesses who might have much-needed items to bridge the gap.

Coun Mike Bell, the council’s deputy leader and executive member for adult social care said: “Our care homes and community care workers are desperate.”

Cornwall Council called on the Government to speed up the PPE supply chain.

Leader Julian German said: “I understand that these are unprecedented times and there is a UK shortage of PPE, but I urge the Government to quickly clarify how it intends to distribute this vital equipment – particularly in rural areas like Cornwall.”

Warrington Council said the risk of its “heroic” care workers contracting the coronavirus and passing it on to their own families and other elderly and vulnerable people was increasing each day.

Care home staff were still working without the correct protective equipment, particularly masks.

Newcastle North’s Labour MP Catherine McKinnell has told the Prime Minister care home staff were working without the correct equipment.

Constituency staff had been in touch with local care homes and many were concerned about the lack of supplies, she said.

The MP wrote: “Current supplies are simply not enough to maintain the required level of care.

“What is the urgent plan to ensure these homes do not run out?”

By Press Association

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