BAME nursing staff ‘less protected’ amid issues around PPE, survey finds

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Dame Donna Kinnair said the survey reinforced calls for ‘specific risk assessments’ for BAME nursing staff. Credit: PA

Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) nursing staff are more likely to experience difficulties accessing personal protective equipment (PPE) than their white colleagues, a survey has found.

Across health and social care settings, both high-risk and not, a higher percentage of BAME respondents reported issues with PPE compared to their white counterparts.

The findings by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) follow an exclusive ITV News survey that found “discrimination” on the frontline of the coronavirus outbreak may be factor in the disproportionate number of BAME deaths among NHS staff.

The RCN survey found issues with eye and face protection, and fluid-repellent gowns. Credit: AP

In the UK-wide survey of members working in high-risk environments, the RCN found less than half (43 per cent) of respondents from a BAME background said they had enough eye and face protection.

In contrast, 66 per cent of white British nursing staff who responded said they had sufficient amounts of the same type of PPE.

43% of BAME survey respondents said they had enough eye and face PPE.

There was a similar disparity in the numbers of fluid-repellent gowns RCN members said they had access to. While 19 per cent of white British staff reported they did not have enough gowns to see them through a shift, that percentage increased to 37 per cent of BAME respondents. Issues around the supply and quality of PPE surfaced early in the coronavirus outbreak, with medics on the frontline warning about a lack of proper protection.

PPE shortages have since been a complaint from hospices and care homes as the UK passed the peak of the outbreak.

Health Secretary for England Matt Hancock announced on Tuesday that the Government had made “significant progress” on PPE issues.

He added that they were not only keeping up with demand, but were now in a position to replenish stockpiles


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Date: 28 May 2020 at 1:17pm