GMB calls on ambulance services to tackle shortage of essential equipment to protect crews

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Protecting the staff and keeping them healthy and available for duty to protect the public has to be given the highest priority says GMB.

GMB, the union for ambulance staff, is calling on all NHS Ambulance Trusts to build up and maintain stocks of essential personal protective equipment (PPE), such as face masks, which are vital to protect the health of staff who are key to the proper functioning of the NHS at this time in the health emergency.

Gavin Davies, Senior Regional Organiser for Health, said:

”This GMB London call has arisen after we were alerted by members in the service that there is a national shortage of personal protective equipment available for our professional ambulance crews who are required to be at the front line of health care and saving lives. 

“GMB has substantive membership in all Ambulance Trusts and we are really concerned that our members are being asked to attend COVID-19 call-outs without the appropriate PPE, including face masks, due to this supply shortage. Protecting staff and keeping them healthy and available for duty to protect the public has to be given the highest priority.

“Our hard-working ambulance members will always put the patients first and in this case it could mean they are putting themselves in a very vulnerable positions and risk cross contamination.

“GMB has been locked in conversation with the London Ambulance Service about the provision for PPE along with the East of England Ambulance Service and we are aware that both of these services are struggling with their supplies. Face masks are at dangerously low levels. 

“With all the media on COVID-19 and all the NHS 111 advice it is simply not acceptable to put patients and ambulance crews at risk by not having enough PPE. 

“Our hard-working members in the ambulance service will always be there for the public and it is imperative that the Government steps in and ensures that the relevant supply chains have the resources available to ensure our ambulance workers are protected and enable them to continue to do what they do best - save lives."