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The COVID-19 outbreak has raised numerous challenges globally, leading to countless difficult decisions being made that affect us all. Many of these decisions have raised ethical and moral questions that are further compounded by economic considerations, and while we all feel the ramifications of this, it is the most vulnerable and key workers who are most affected. If you only think back a few months ago, to a time before COVID-19, it was common knowledge that our health and social care system lacked funding, leaving the many vulnerable adults and children without sufficient support, this cannot be forgotten.
Throughout a number of posts, we will consider the challenges faced in the UK as a result of the outbreak.
It has increasingly been reported throughout the pandemic that there is not enough Personal Protective Equipment (“PPE”) being provided for front line staff.
This is becoming increasingly apparent with the sad news of NHS staff passing away as a result of COVID-19, together with other key workers such as public transport workers.
The Royal College of Nurses has raised concerns that nurses may be particularly affected by this.
An article published in The Mail Online reveals that nurses across the UK are working without any masks, gowns or gloves and were not to attempt to resuscitate patients due to the risk.
An article in The Telegraph reports that three nurses who had been forced to wear bin bags due to lack of protective equipment have all tested positive for coronavirus.
Local GPs are also at risk due to the lack of equipment. The Yorkshire Evening Post reports that 85% of Yorkshire Medical Committees are reporting a shortage of PPE.
"It takes just one case of COVID-19 in a care home setting to put all at risk at lead to care workers needing to self-isolate, without PPE, carehomes and other community settings face mass deaths." BBC
What more can be done during these unprecedented times?It is not believed that anybody could have envisaged the affect that this pandemic has had on the country, and indeed Worldwide.
There are reports of unconventional means where companies are trying their hardest to assist with this.
The Daily Star has reported an underwear production company is attempting to help in providing new face masks.
There are also reports, similar to one reported in Hull’s local papers of 3D printers being utilised to create face masks.
The lack of PPE leaves key workers in a troubling position where they must risk their own lives, and the lives of their families, to look after others. After all, employers have a duty of care to their employees other people who might be affected to protect their health and safety. On the other hand, vital care, treatment and services must continue to be provided, reluctantly even without enough PPE.
It is unclear when or if there will be enough PPE available for key workers. The same question remains, however, how can we ensure that we look after everyone in society?
Our team of specialist solicitors has a great deal of experience in dealing with clinical negligence claims, and will be on hand every step of the way to explain the legal process. Speak to the team at Ramsdens Solicitors today by calling 0800 804 7450, emailing natalie.ramsdens.co.uk or fill out our online enquiry form.