Welsh Government Health Minister, Baroness Eluned Morgan has said that more than a billion items of free personal protective equipment (PPE) have been issued to the NHS and social care sector across Wales since the start of the pandemic.
But some say the claim “does not bear reality to the working conditions of NHS staff”.
Baroness Morgan said: “We are passing a significant milestone of issuing a billion pieces of PPE. I want to pay tribute to the continued efforts of NHS Wales Shared Services Partnership in sourcing and providing PPE to keep our frontline health and social care workers safe during the pandemic.
“The supply and distribution of high-quality PPE continues to be a critical part of our response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“As we plan ahead for winter, and with COVID-19 continuing to place our health and social care systems under pressure, I am pleased to confirm that our PPE stocks are stable and we are working closely with NWSSP to ensure that we have at least 16 weeks supply available.
“Our dedicated health and social care workers are working on the frontline of this pandemic, and we are committed to continuing to provide them with free PPE for as long as it is needed to help keep them safe.”
However Dr David Bailey, Chairman of the British Medical Association says that one of the reasons NHS Wales is currently under such immense pressure is “inadequate personal protection equipment”.
Dr Bailey said: “Some doubly vaccinated healthcare workers are still having to isolate due to treating vulnerable patients and not having sufficient equipment such as higher-grade respiratory masks to stop the spread of the virus.”
Welsh Conservative Shadow Health Minister, Russell George MS said on the Government’s PPE claims: “This self-congratulatory statement does not bear reality to the working conditions of NHS staff, as we are hearing medical experts say there is the PPE is not good enough.
“This is having a dramatic consequences as it further circulates the virus, affects staffing levels, leading to burnout among those who can still work but without providing great enough capacity to deal with patients swiftly.
“Sadly this statement is another distraction from huge problems in the Labour-run NHS and that won’t change if ministers do not strategise to change that. A winter plan is not for decoration but a blueprint to address the current shortcomings that are leading to backlogs and shortages.
“The Welsh Government refused to declare an emergency in the ambulance service. It is refusing to publish a winter plan. The first step in solving a problem is acknowledging there is one. I see no sign of that from ministers right now.”
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