A LEADING GP says doctors have had to source their own personal protective equipment during the pandemic because government supplies have been ‘very slow to appear.’

Dr Gillian Farmer, secretary of the Worcestershire and Herefordshire Local Medical Committee, says doctors have had to secure their own PPE to protect themselves and patients as deaths continue to rise as a result of coronavirus and surgeries increasingly resort to remote consultations to reduce the risk.

Dr Farmer, speaking on behalf of the independent body which represents Worcester’s GPs, said: “Although we have been promised national supplies of personal protective equipment by our government, these have been very slow to appear. Several practices have told us that they will run out of supplies very soon and have yet to receive reassurance about when the next deliveries of PPE will be made.

“We are however in the fortunate position in Worcestershire that we have managed to source some of our own supplies locally and so we are able to carry on seeing patients where necessary.

“We are aiming to carry out consultations remotely wherever possible in order to reduce the risk of transmission of coronavirus to patients and staff.”

She added: “We support the view held by the BMA and others that industry should now be repurposed with immediate effect to manufacture PPE equipment in order to protect our workforce. It is only by protecting our healthcare workers with sufficient supplies of a high standard of PPE that we will be able to continue to provide the high standard of clinical care to our patients that they deserve. Without this we risk becoming ill ourselves, reducing the available workforce and we may be inadvertently passing on the virus to other patients.”

Meanwhile, the Doctors’ Association UK said one junior doctor had reported paediatricians attending deliveries of expectant mothers diagnosed with Covid-19 without wearing a mask.

The doctor-led lobbying and campaigning group, says they had heard from frontline NHS staff who felt they had been bullied or shamed into not wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) due to shortages, and some who were told to “hold their breath” instead. DAUK has developed an app with Messly to collate anonymous testimonials of frontline NHS staff struggling during the pandemic.