An “monumental pressure” has been placed on the system for acquiring protecting equipment, the training secretary has mentioned.
Some 400,000 robes had been anticipated to reach from Turkey on Sunday, however the authorities mentioned it had been delayed.
Gavin Williamson was requested by the BBC why British suppliers providing to make protecting equipment had not been contacted.
In response, he mentioned the federal government hoped to talk to them inside “the following 24 hours”, including the robes ought to arrive on Monday.
“I feel all of us recognise the big pressure that has been positioned on the entire system and we additionally recognise that proper throughout the globe individuals are attempting to get the identical objects of PPE from fairly a restricted variety of suppliers,” Mr Williamson mentioned on the every day Downing Avenue coronavirus briefing.
BBC Well being editor Hugh Pym additionally requested why shares had been allowed to run down over the past couple of years, and why extra was not completed to spice up them in March and February.
The training secretary mentioned “each useful resource of presidency” had been deployed to broaden provides of PPE and ventilators.
England’s deputy chief medical officer Dr Jenny Harries, in the meantime, mentioned the UK remained an “worldwide exemplar” of pandemic preparedness, including there had been challenges however the authorities was “at all times trying forward”.
The pledge to take supply of extra protecting equipment got here after warnings that some hospitals’ intensive care items may run out of robes this weekend.
Dr Chaand Nagpaul, chair of the British Medical Affiliation, described the delay as “very regarding”.
“Healthcare staff desperately want correct and efficient safety now – by no matter means potential,” he mentioned, including: “This actually is a matter of life and dying.”
Public Well being England modified its recommendation on Friday to permit the NHS to re-use robes if inventory was working low, saying “some compromise” was wanted “in instances of utmost shortages”.
It requested employees to reuse “(washable) surgical robes or coveralls or comparable appropriate clothes (for instance, long-sleeved laboratory coat, long-sleeved affected person robe or industrial coverall) with a disposable plastic apron for AGPs (aerosol-generating procedures) and high-risk settings with forearm washing as soon as robe or coverall is eliminated”.
The steering additionally mentioned hospitals may reserve the robes for surgical operations and procedures which had been more likely to transmit respiratory pathogens.
NHS England’s medical director Prof Stephen Powis mentioned for the steering on using protecting gear to be correctly adopted, it was “completely crucial above every thing else that we’ve the provides of PPE going out to the entrance line”.
However the Royal School of Nursing mentioned the steering was developed with out a full session and the British Medical Affiliation (BMA) – which represents docs – mentioned any change have to be pushed by science, not availability.
The delay to the consignment is an actual fear, each within the brief and long-term.
It’s clear the pandemic shares we’ve been largely counting on so far are working out, no less than by way of robes and visors.
It has left us relying on worldwide provide – actually for robes – as we don’t appear to have the ability to manufacture them ourselves.
Given the worldwide demand for them, this threatens to be an on-going difficulty that might trigger issues for months to return.
Workers are understandably frightened – they’re placing their lives in danger.
Ministers and their officers are clearly working onerous to do what they’ll.
However sooner or later, critical questions will should be requested about why this example has arisen within the first place.
Cupboard Workplace Minister Michael Gove mentioned the UK had constructed up shares of PPE in expectation of a flu pandemic – in addition to to arrange for the potential of a no-deal Brexit – however he mentioned there was a “worldwide strain” on provides.
Labour’s shadow well being secretary, Jon Ashworth, mentioned “critical errors have been made” by the federal government in tackling the outbreak.
He informed Sky Information: “We all know that our front-line NHS employees haven’t got the PPE, that they have been informed this weekend that they will not essentially have the robes that are very important to maintain them protected.”
The federal government has appointed Lord Deighton, who headed the organising committee of the London Olympics, to resolve issues with provides and distribution of PPE.