Coronavirus: NHS doesn't have enough protective equipment, reveals junior doctor

22 March 2020, 09:00

By Seán Hickey

Shillen, a cancer surgeon in training and doctor, came on air to share with Andrew Castle the measures the NHS are taking for patients.

Andrew Castle was speaking about the coronavirus outbreak and had a call from Dr. Shillen, who wanted to tell the public that the NHS was doing all it can to ensure operations would take place safely and efficiently during this crisis to the best ability of frontline staff.

On the subject of the elderly in the community and how they have been treated after locking down, Dr. Shillen shared a method he saw from someone in Yorkshire.

The junior doctor told Andrew that if you put a green card in your window, it means you are safely stocked up. "If you've got a red card in the window saying 'help, I've run out of food and medication'", the inventor of this system has seen that people rush to the help of the elderly.

Dr. Shillen told Andrew that he has been trying to implement the system in his community in Woolwich, saying that "we need to get back to helping" the elderly.

Andrew moved the subject on to how prepared the NHS staff are for a massive outbreak down the line and on the topic of face masks, gloves and scrubs he stated that what the NHS isn't good enough. He asked Shillen for his opinion.

"We would like to be better prepared." Dr. Shillen put bluntly.

Dr. Shillen stated that the NHS isn't as prepared as it should
Dr. Shillen stated that the NHS isn't as prepared as it should. Picture: PA

Two members of Dr. Shillen's team isolated with suspected coronavirus, he told Andrew. The doctor told Andrew that his colleagues are desperate to rejoin the workforce to which Andrew asked why they hadn't been tested.

Dr. Shillen admitted that the NHS are clearly stretched by the crisis and are under pressure to perform at their best while facing adversity every hour of every day.

He told Andrew that his father-in-law is a retired doctor and is apprehensive to rejoin the service because he feels he will be of no use, due to being away from the NHS for so long.

Answering directly to whether there is enough equipment in the NHS, Dr. Shillen told Andrew, "the answer is no."

"We don't always have what we need" Shillen concluded.