Monday, 25 Oct 2021

Coronavirus: ‘We need to be doing even more’ on protective equipment, minister admits

The business secretary has refused to apologise over claims health care workers do not have the right equipment to safely deal with patients who have coronavirus – but admitted to Sky News that more needs to be done.

Alok Sharma told Sophy Ridge on Sunday that he was “sorry for the loss of any life during this pandemic” as he answered questions about the government’s handling of the coronavirus crisis.

But when asked if he wanted to apologise directly to medical teams caring for COVID-19 patients, he said: “It is our job to make sure we get that health care equipment, that PPE, out to them.

“Right now, your viewers will be asking, does the government have a plan to get this PPE out to the frontline? And the answer is, yes, we do have a plan.

“We are putting that in place, with millions of pieces of PPE kit going out to the frontline. Of course, we need to be doing even more.”

It comes after the Royal College of Nursing advised members to refuse to treat patients if they do not have adequate personal protective equipment to use.

Mr Sharma told Sky News health workers should not be put in such a position.

“It is absolutely right that no medical professional should be placed in a position where they have to make that choice.

“That for me is self-evident. That is why we are making sure we get the equipment to the frontline.”

The Cabinet minister said PPE demand was well beyond anything like what it would be outside of a pandemic and that there was a “unified effort” to deliver more supplies.

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