Ceredigion AM and MP call for increased testing and protective equipment for frontline staff


New guidance, issued by the UK Government and public health authorities last Thursday, states that any clinician working in a hospital, primary care or community care setting within two metres of a suspected or confirmed coronavirus Covid-19 patient should wear an apron, gloves, surgical mask and eye protection. The guidance has been agreed by the four Chief Medical Officers, Chief Nursing Officers and Chief Dental Officers in the UK and is applicable in all parts of the UK.

Employers and unions have broadly welcomed the new guidance but warned that it must be backed by adequate supplies. 

Elin Jones AM said: “What fundamentally matters is that doctors and healthcare workers get the adequate and appropriate supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE) on the frontline. Without these supplies, there is continued unacceptable danger to the health and lives of healthcare workers and their patients.”

Alongside adequate supplies of PPE, Elin Jones AM and Ben Lake MP are calling for greater testing and tracing for NHS workers and care workers as a matter of urgency, in order to ensure the protection of themselves and the public.

Ben Lake MP said: “Testing is one of the best weapons we have to defeat this pandemic by the spread of the virus and ensuring frontline health and care workers are protected and can go back to work.

Directors of Social Services in Welsh Councils have told the head of the Welsh NHS that a lack of personal protective equipment in the care sector is being made worse by the lack of testing.

In a letter seen by Plaid Cymru, they describe the sector’s concerns that ‘because of a lack of PPE, overstretched care workers will become super-infectors adding still further to the burden on our hospitals.’ They also call for transparency on PPE supply noting that ‘the current position where we have no idea when and how much stock will arrive is not tenable.’

In response, Elin Jones AM said: “We mustn’t forget that our social care staff are working tirelessly to provide vital care and protection to hundreds of citizens across Ceredigion who are at greatest risk of being impacted by Covid-19, in extremely challenging and fast-changing circumstances and we commend their continued commitment.

“Testing must be prioritised for NHS staff and care settings.  This will in turn minimise the use of PPE for non-confirmed cases.  Significant PPE is currently being used unnecessarily because of a lack of testing.”

Ben Lake MP added: “Social care staff are undertaking a critical role at this time, like others in the health and care sector. They are keeping the elderly, children, and young people safe while providing a range of care and support to others, and I would like to thank them for their work. 

“We need to ensure that they are safe and well enough to work, which means they need to be equipped with PPE as appropriate. We are calling for an extension of the testing regime as soon as possible to include social care staff so that people who are well enough to work can do so.”

Elin Jones AM added: "We are extremely grateful to all the local organisations and companies, including Aberystwyth University, the Wales Veterinary Science Centre and several local secondary schools, who are currently producing and donating personal protective equipment to NHS staff at local healthcare facilities."

Say you're with us

Elin Jones and Ben Lake work for everyone who lives in Ceredigion. Show your support and help them in their work to ensure a better Ceredigion, today.