Denmead child Sam Merrick appears in PPE appeal for families caring for loved ones at home

THE national shortage of protective equipment for those in the health care field is seeing families caring for children at home being neglected.

Tuesday, 26th May 2020, 5:05 pm

Across the country, families are caring for seriously ill children every day without external support.

But while calls are made for an inquiry into the lack of personal protective equipment (PPE), a charity has launched an appeal for home carers to get the equipment they need.

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Sam Merrick, 11, was was featured in the WellChild charity appeal for PPE. Picture: Louise Merrick

In the WellChild appeal, 11-year-old Denmead lad Sam Merrick appears in the video, which shows children catching PPE boxes and throwing them to their friends.

Sam has chronic lung disease and is the inspiration behind the Sam’s Haven charity – which offers respite holidays for sick children and their families.

WellChild has received more than 350 urgent requests for PPE such as gloves, aprons, and face masks from families across the country, with numbers growing every day.

The charity has secured 76,000 items of PPE to distribute to people such as Sam’s parents, but is appealing for further help.

Julie Ridgeley, who cares for her 16-year-old daughter Lia, said: ‘Lia has care from a nurse once a week who we pay through personal independent payments and we do not have PPE for her.

‘The NHS has not supplied PPE for Lia’s nurse, as she is a private carer.

‘Without the PPE WellChild has provided Lia may not have been able to receive care from her nurse.’

WellChild’s director of programmes, Tara Parker, added: ‘Thousands of vulnerable families hidden in communities across the country are totally reliant on external carers coming into their home.

‘Many are having to cope without the care they need because they have been advised to shield but cannot provide the PPE that their carers need.

‘Their children require round-the-clock medical care, which is emotionally and physically exhausting for a family to manage on their own – if we do not act fast, many will reach breaking point, placing their children and families at significant risk.’

Families caring for a seriously ill child can request PPE by going to

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