New Cross Hospital 'critically low' on PPE as urgent appeal launched

New Cross Hospital is running "critically low" on personal protective equipment (PPE) for staff battling coronavirus.

An appeal has been made for more PPE to help protect staff at New Cross Hospital (Library image)
An appeal has been made for more PPE to help protect staff at New Cross Hospital (Library image)

NHS bosses have been forced to turn to local companies as part of an urgent appeal to ensure frontline workers are protected.

The trust which runs the hospital said gowns, protective suits, hand gel, detergent wipes and scrubs were all "urgently needed".

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Nearly 170 people have died after contracting Covid-19 at New Cross, with the Midlands second only to London for total deaths.

The urgent plea appears to confirm suggestions some hospitals are not being provided with enough PPE and is damaging for the Government, which has insisted it is doing all it can to ensure supplies are reaching hospitals.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock sparked outrage last week when he suggested some doctors and nurses were over-using equipment.

New Cross Hospital has put out an appeal for more PPE equipment

Launching the appeal, the charitable arm of the Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust, which runs New Cross, said: "The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust is continuing to work hard against the fight of Covid-19.

"The safety of our patients and our staff is paramount, now more than ever. Our stock of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is now running critically low – we need your help!

"Does the company you work for manufacture or use the following items and are they able to donate them to the trust to enable us to maintain our exceptional stands of care?"

Pat McFadden, Labour MP for Wolverhampton South East, said: "It is absolutely essential that those who are risking their own safety to help and protect the public get the equipment they need to do their jobs.

"Right now our society owes these workers an enormous amount. The least we can do is give them the PPE they need."

Anyone able to support the hospital is asked to email with the subject title: URGENT PPE DONATION.

Neighbouring Russells Hall Hospital in Dudley last week denied suggestions it was running short of PPE, following claims to the contrary from staff treating coronavirus patients.

The New Cross appeal came after claims nationally that doctors are being forced to wash PPE to reuse it and are dipping their hands in a bucket of steriliser because hand gel has run out.

Comments gathered by the British Medical Association (BMA) show how, as recently as Monday, medics were being forced to work without adequate PPE, with some turning to bin liners instead.

Some doctors have been told by their NHS trusts to reuse gowns and some have donated their share of PPE to nurses and healthcare assistants due to shortages, it has been claimed.

On Monday, an obstetrics and gynaecology trainee in the South East said there has been no eye protection for the last three weeks and there were no facilities to clean footwear.

“Surgical masks are not fluid resistant,” they said. “There are no reinforced gowns for high volume procedures (e.g. C-section).

The Government has been criticised for failing to ensure all hospitals have an adequate supply of PPE

“PPE equipment is in short supply – and often locked away. We have bought more than £4,000 worth of PPE over the last four weeks as a group of trainees.”

On the same day, an anaesthetics trainee in Scotland said: “We’re having to wash our visors in disinfectant because we don’t have enough.

“We also ran out of hand gel briefly and were provided with a bucket of steriliser to dip our hands in.”

Care minister Helen Whateley said on Wednesday that there has been a “global scramble for PPE” and distributing it to care providers and GPs has been a “massive logistical effort”.

She added: “It is a precious resource and we have to make sure it is used when you need it to either protect a member of the workforce or protect a patient, because people have been crying out wanting to use PPE all the time for everything and actually that is not the best way.”

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