Janet Finch-Saunders AM/AC, Shadow Minister for Social Care, has today (3 April) cautiously welcomed an update to Welsh Government guidance on use of personal protective equipment (PPE) by health and social care staff.
The new guidance, which applies across the UK, was the result of a rapid review carried out by the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges and Public Health England. According to a statement issued by the Minister for Health and Social Services yesterday, the Deputy Chief Medical Officer for Wales was also involved.
Key changes to the guidance include:
- All health and social care staff within 2m of a suspected or confirmed coronavirus patient should wear an apron, gloves, fluid repellent surgical mask and eye protection
- Some PPE (masks, visors and gowns) which are currently classed as “single use” will be classed as “sessional use” in some situations
- The use of gowns will be extended, particularly when aerosol-generating procedures are taking place.
On the guidance update, the Shadow Social Care Minister said:
"At this extremely worrying and difficult time, we must all work to prioritise the protection of front line health and social care staff.
"Over the past few weeks, I have received numerous individuals respond to my call for them to let me know if they were unable to obtain the appropriate PPE required. Caregivers are being let down by inadequate protective equipment, and a shortage of supply.
"I welcome this new guidance, published as a result of a four-nations review. This update means that the Welsh Government can now focus squarely on increasing the supply of PPE to those reporting a shortage.
"On this critically important issue, it is paramount that we work together with all nations of the United Kingdom to ensure that supplies of PPE are distributed quickly and fairly. Only by working together will we overcome the current crisis point in the social care sector.
"I must reiterate my calls for the Health Minister to consider creating a clear online campaign stating how care providers are to contact the Welsh Government Emergency Co-ordination Centre.
"Access to clear channels of communication for our front line staff is vital if public officials are to understand where PPE supplies are in most demand.
Notes to Editors: