Nurses who used bin bags due to PPE shortage ‘test positive for coronavirus’

9 April 2020, 11:45

The three nurses have reportedly tested positive for Covid-19
The three nurses have reportedly tested positive for Covid-19. Picture: Twitter
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

Three hero nurses who were pictured wearing bin bags as protective clothing as they treated coronavirus patients have tested positive for the disease.

The NHS nurses - who work at Northwick Park Hospital in Harrow, north London - claimed they were forced to use makeshift protective equipment due to shortages of gloves, aprons and protective overshoes.

Images circulated social media in March showing the nurses apparently wearing clinical waste bags as the hospital filled with coronavirus patients.

Now the Telegraph newspaper has reported all three nurses pictured have been diagnosed with Covid-19 at a North London testing centre, according to senior hospital source.

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Staff fear they are at risk of contracting the disease from sick patients because bosses have failed to provide them with proper PPE.

In March the nurses told the paper they had to ‘use their initiative’ by wearing the bin bags, as they had "no other choice" due to the lack of PPE available.

The newspaper reported more than 50 per cent of staff, including the matron and ward manager on one ward, were found to have contracted the virus.

A spokesman for London North West University Healthcare NHS Trust told the Mirror: "We can confirm that a number of staff members working in our Covid-19 positive areas have tested positive for the coronavirus.

"This is unfortunate but not unexpected, as it corresponds with the experience of healthcare workers across the world.

"We are providing full support to those of our staff members who become unwell, and wish them a swift recovery."

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In a letter to parliamentary health and social care committee chair Jeremy Hunt, Royal College of Nursing general secretary Dame Donna Kinnair claims inadequate PPE supplies are compromising patient care and putting nurses’ safety at risk.

Despite repeated government assurances that more PPE is on the way, it is not reaching the front line in all health and care settings, the college says.