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We have enough equipment, says Norfolk’s NHS amid reports of shortages

PUBLISHED: 15:32 19 March 2020 | UPDATED: 15:32 19 March 2020

The ambulance service said it had enough protective equipment for staff but one manager warned items were disappearing fast. Picture: East of England Ambulance Service

The ambulance service said it had enough protective equipment for staff but one manager warned items were disappearing fast. Picture: East of England Ambulance Service

East of England Ambulance Service

Norfolk’s hospitals insist they have enough protective equipment for staff to see them through the coronavirus crisis, despite reports of national shortages.

A pedestrian wearing a face mask Picture: DENISE BRADLEYA pedestrian wearing a face mask Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) and Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn, both said they had enough stock of things like surgical masks, suits and hand gel to protect staff.

One private ambulance provider, however, warned it was facing a hand gel shortage and had been waiting three weeks for a respirator.

Dave Hawkins, managing director of east England private ambulance firm MET Medical, said: “The government need to urgently step in and get some of the big names to work around the clock increasing supply of respirators and not to sell them off to retail at silly prices.

“If they don’t, we are going to be in a position where there is no one left to help the sick.

One private ambulance boss said it was One private ambulance boss said it was "impossible" to get supplies of hand gel. Picture: Archant

“They also need to prioritise testing kits to all frontline healthcare providers so that they can maximise their capacity without putting patients at risk.”

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The East of England Ambulance Service said it had enough protective equipment for staff.

Chief operating officer Marcus Bailey said: “We are well prepared for incidents like this and the NHS and Public Health England are taking all necessary steps to manage the situation.”

But one email to staff from a manager at the ambulance service said: “We are noting an emerging issue of stock control and management, particularly with those highly sought after items of hand gel, toilet rolls, suits, FFP3/surgical masks.

“Each of our hubs have been supplied with sufficient numbers of these items but what appears on the shelves is not what has been provided, or it doesn’t stay there for long.”

The NNUH said it was getting new deliveries of protective equipment and topping up stocks in areas of the hospital treating suspected coronavirus patients

A QEH spokesman added: “We have enough protective equipment and our supplies team are working hard together with the national NHS supply chain.”


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