Pinderfields Hospital bosses had to flout government guidelines to get PPE at coronavirus peak

Hospital bosses were forced to flout government guidelines to ensure staff got the required PPE at the height of the coronavirus pandemic, it has emerged.

By David Spereall
Sunday, 30th August 2020, 7:00 am

The Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs Pinderfields, Pontefract and Dewsbury Hospitals, took matters into their own hands and procured their own protective gear, which was out of step with instructions from the Department of Health.

The trust said the move was necessary to keep staff and patients safe and that the government has now agreed to cover the costs.

Hospitals across the country ran seriously short of masks and gowns for staff as Covid cases spiked in April, leading to criticism of the government's handling of supplies.

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The government has now agreed to cover the cost of buying the equipment.

In desperation, Mid Yorkshire ended up buying coveralls as a substitute for long-sleeved gowns.

Speaking at a health scrutiny meeting on Thursday, Andrew Smith, an A&E consultant at the trust said PPE had "been a challenge".

He added: "What I'm able to report is that as a trust we did go outside the national guidance and procure some of our own PPE, to make sure we had resilience.

"If we hadn't done that we'd have failed in that. So to ensure our staff and patients were safe we did go and procure.

Mr Smith said PPE "had been a challenge" for the trust.

"Luckily the government has now reciprocated and agreed to cover the costs."

Earlier this summer, Mid Yorkshire's chief executive, Martin Barkley, said that distinguishing seasonal flu from Covid would be one of the biggest challenges facing the health service this winter.

The flu vaccine, which is normally reserved for elderly people, frontline NHS staff and at-risk groups, will be extended to all over 50s across the UK in a bid to address this.

Local Democracy Reporting Service