Inadequate guidance on personal protective equipment put NHS staff and patients at risk, writes Trish Hynes, while Michael Lipton says that self-administered lateral flow tests are no guarantee of safety at public events. Plus letters from Prof Richard Carter, Alan Marsden, Chris Sinha and Susannah Woodgate
I am an NHS nurse who has worked in acute areas throughout the pandemic and am mystified as to why the enhanced effectiveness of FFP3 masks is now being reported as a surprising piece of new information (Cambridge hospital’s mask upgrade appears to eliminate Covid risk to staff, 29 June). NHS staff have been making this point since the beginning of the pandemic.
The PPE crisis is a scandal. Coronavirus was downgraded from a high consequence infectious disease early on in the outbreak, just before the first national lockdown, despite it meeting the criteria set out by the World Health Organization. This meant that NHS trusts have been able to stand behind Public Health England guidance and send staff into red zones without full PPE, and many continue to do so. It is not unlikely that numerous health and social care staff have contracted Covid and died as a result of this policy, and many more are now struggling with long Covid.