A new survey recently conducted by the Doctor’s Association UK (DAUK) reports that more and more hospitals in the UK are running out of fundamental personal protective equipment for NHS doctors, including scrubs.
More precisely, nearly sixty-one percent of the hospitals now have a shortage of scrubs for doctors to wear while handling patients of the coronavirus infection and performing procedures in the emergency rooms.
Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, the need and demand for personal protective equipment are more than ever since many more NHS workers have started using it in order to protect themselves from the novel coronavirus.
The increase in coronavirus patients has also elevated the risk of exposure to the virus. Hence, many of the healthcare workers are wearing scrubs and other equipment in hospitals every day.
Many of the NHS workers report they have not worn normal work clothes in the past two months during their shifts. While this decision can help workers in reducing the risk of coronavirus infection, it has contributed to a shortage of PPE.
Scrubs are now worn and needed by all workers ranging from occupational therapists and doctors to nurses and physiotherapists. As a result, many of the hospitals are no longer able to keep up with the demand.
This has put pressure on not only obtaining new scrubs for the workers but also on cleaning services of the hospitals. All workers hand in the scrubs on a daily basis after doing their shifts so that they can wear it the following day.
Over time, the scrubs also need to be replaced with new ones due to hygienic concerns and to lower the risk of infection. Hence, the shortage of personal protective equipment has been rapidly increasing day by day.
Consequently, many workers have even begun wearing sleeping suits and pajamas, especially while handling coronavirus patients in the place of regular clothing to cut down the risk of contracting the coronavirus and taking it home.
The president of Doctor’s Association, UK, Dr. Samantha Batt-Rawden said “Six in 10 doctors responding to our survey said that they had no access to scrubs at their place of work. In addition to personal protective equipment, the provision of scrubs for healthcare workers is vital to ensuring that they don’t take the infection home with them,”
The shortage of scrubs and other equipment has reached a stage where many workers have bought their own scrubs. According to Dr. Batt-Rawden, the situation is worsening every day and steps like these can lead to coronavirus spread.
Buying and taking scrubs home increases the likelihood of taking the coronavirus infection home. As a consequence, the family members of friends of the healthcare workers may get exposed to the virus.
Cleaning services are equally mandatory along with providing the scrubs. Some of the doctors who took part in the survey reported they had been washing their scrubs at home by themselves.
Dr. Batt-Rawden states this too, increases the risk of further spread of the coronavirus infection. Scrubs should be considered equally important to other personal protective equipment by Public Health England.
However, the NHS has denied any claims of PPE and scrubs shortages. An NHS Supply Chain spokesperson has stated that the chain has more than enough scrubs for health care workers to order.