Kimpton man’s appeal over shortage of personal protective equipment for coronavirus key workers

A fundraising appeal has been launched to buy protective face masks for key workers battling the coronavirus outbreak on the frontline.

Graham Field, who lives in Kimpton near Hitchin, has set up a Go Fund Me page to raise money to buy face masks for police and NHS staff.

Personal protective equipment such as masks, gowns, gloves and goggles can help prevent transmission of coronavirus – also referred to as covid-19 – but doctors and other key workers say they are endangering their own health due to a nationwide shortage of this equipment.

This has prompted Graham to take action. He said: “I’m speaking to policemen, doctors and NHS staff every day who haven’t been issued with face masks. These are frontline staff who desperately need protection.

“I’m looking to raise as much money as possible, which will be spent on CE approved face masks and given away to frontline staff.

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“Anything you can give will help the cause. Please donate what you can afford and spread the word.” In the first two days, Graham’s appeal raised £1,190 - including an anonymous donation of £500.

Maria Clements donated £100 and said: “Fantastic work. We need more people doing this sort of thing. Inspirational.”

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Of the PPE situation, Gill Walton, chief executive of the Royal College of Midwives, said: “We know healthcare workers are taking a higher risk than the rest of the population to care for the rest of us. To mitigate that risk as much as possible, it is vital we provide them with the right level of protective equipment. What we are hearing from our members up and down the country is that this simply isn’t happening. It is unacceptable.”

NHS strategic incident director, Professor Keith Willett, said: “Covid-19 is generating unprecedented global demand on the supply chain, combined with a manufacturing slowdown in affected countries, especially China which manufactures a large amount of PPE.

“Government, NHS Supply Chain and the NHS are doing everything to work with industry to secure additional supplies and manufacture further PPE.

“Services across the NHS are urgently being sent stocks of PPE to help them manage cases and potential cases of covid-19 and keep staff safe.”

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