COMMENT: NHS frontline is a priority, but don't forget others need PPE

Day after day the issue of PPE (personal protective equipment) or the lack of it for NHS frontline workers is, rightly, high up the coronavirus news agenda.

Thursday, 23rd April 2020, 12:00 am
Updated Friday, 24th April 2020, 5:42 pm

As the government faces mounting criticism over why essential equipment is still in such short supply, Lord Deighton - the man who led the delivery of the 2012 London Olympics - has been appointed to urgently drive PPE manufacturing.

This focus on getting sufficient kit to medics in hospitals is to be welcomed. They are absolutely right to expect that they are given the necessary protection in order to do their jobs and not be exposed to danger.

But what about other social care, health staff and key workers in the community?

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Today we report how Portsmouth's deputy city council leader Steve Pitt has called on the government to provide more PPE and enforce guidelines so it can be worn by all those who may be at risk in the course of their work.

We agree that it must be extremely concerning to see any existing stocks of PPE dwindle and then not be replaced because of issues with the supply chain.

Everybody would accept that NHS frontline staff are a priority for PPE, but others who require it in order to do their jobs safely should not be forgotten.

This goes for people working in the private sector too.

On page 4 we tell how a Southsea woman who works for Apetito has written to the firm's chief executive about the 'non-existence' of PPE for staff who have to visit elderly or vulnerable clients and dish up meals.

While the firm is following current guidelines – and states that anyone delivering to a client who is isolating should not enter their home but drop the meal off on the doorstep – the case shows that PPE is a subject that extends far beyond hospital wards.