Coronavirus: Concerns at Peterborough hospice as protective equipment fails to arrive

Staff at a Peterborough hospice who may come into contact with coronavirus patients could be left at risk unless supply chains of protective equipment are fixed, it has been claimed.

Wednesday, 1st April 2020, 4:09 pm

Jane Turner, deputy director of nursing at Sue Ryder, said 28 per cent of the charity’s staff in Peterborough are currently ill or self-isolating, forcing its Thorpe Hall hospice to adept its services to meet demand.

And while she insisted the charity, which specialises in palliative, bereavement and neurological support, is managing to provide all staff the correct PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) at the moment, problems with ordering the crucial kit from the NHS risk causing a future shortage.

She told the Peterborough Telegraph: “All our amazing medical and nursing staff are fully prepared and supported, but we’ve been trying very hard to get all the personal medical equipment.

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Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall

“There are national challenges and we are definitely experiencing those at Thorpe Hall. We’re spending a lot of time try and locate the correct PPE we need.

“We’re starting to see some of it come through but it’s not consistent and we don’t always get the full order. PPE is critical for the protection of our staff.”

Ms Turner said Sue Ryder is in regular dialogue with the Government and NHS but that it was not clear why the correct levels of equipment are not being delivered to its hospices across the country, including Peterborough.

She said at the moment the hospices can distribute equipment including masks, visors and surgical gowns between themselves to make sure all staff are protected, but that this was “unsustainable” with the charity never sure how much of their order will arrive on a daily basis.

“The NHS are looking at this and we’re hoping there will be a solution to it in the next couple of days,” Ms Turner added.

The Government has insisted that there is enough PPE for health professionals but that there have been difficulties with the supply chain.

The Thorpe Hall hospice in Thorpe Road, Longthorpe, has had to adept the services it offers, including moving to phone consultations, but some staff are working in the community, meaning the constant supply of kit is “critical”.

Ms Turner praised the efforts of those working for the hospice and insisted they should be among the first to be tested for coronavirus alongside NHS staff so they can get back to work if they get the all clear.

And she echoed calls for the Government to provide financial support for the charity sector which has taken a huge hit during the current crisis, adding: “We are campaigning locally through MPs and at national level with other charities so we can explain challenges we have, especially in the hospice sector.”