HCSA requests urgent strengthening of PPE guidelines

HCSA President Dr Claudia Paoloni wrote to Public Health England (PHE) last night to warn that current personal protective equipment (PPE) guidance is not enough to protect hospital doctors amid the threat posed by asymptomatic patients with Covid-19.

Writing on behalf of front-line hospital doctors, Dr Paoloni requested an urgent review following the publication of new evidence from a number of sources on the transmission of the Coronavirus.

She warned that a survey of HCSA members had showed around 70 per cent felt that the current PHE guidance was insufficient.

PHE now needs to “ensure that all staff and patients within the hospital are mandated to wear surgical masks both in clinical and non-clinical areas, as evidenced from the Italian transmission to staff being greater in non-Covid areas, reflecting the high degree of asymptomatic spread,” Dr Paoloni requested.

She added that the guidance needed to be reviewed to fill loopholes around PPE for shoes, hair and neck which also leave NHS staff vulnerable to infection.

With the widespread infection of patients by Covid-19 and without available tests this was the only way to reduce risks to all those in hospitals, she noted.

Download the full letter to Public Health England (PDF)