Testing must be carried out on care workers helping the most vulnerable says Gareth Thomas
Harrow West MP Gareth Thomas has warned that while Northwick Park Hospital’s doctors and nurses are starting to receive protective equipment, care home workers should also be protected.
The MP previously told MyLondon that some staff were having to buy their own personal protective equipment (PPE) at his constituency’s hospital Northwick Park, which has been the worst hit hospital in the country so far for coronavirus deaths.
A total of 149 people have died from Covid-19 in the care of London North West Healthcare NHS Trust, which runs Northwick Park alongside Ealing Hospital and Central Middlesex Hospital.
Speaking in late March, he told MyLondon the staff he had spoken to were “angry” at the lack of protective measures at the hub which has been treating patients since the beginning of the crisis.
On Friday (April 3), he said staff have now started to be given the proper equipment necessary to protect themselves from the virus, further limiting its spread.
“It is far from perfect and there is still a problem with masks but this is an even bigger problem for those in the social care and primary care sectors,” he said.
“Where people are wearing full PPE rate of infection among hospital workers are far lower. As MP I want them to be wearing the full protection they can.
“I have been in touch wit the doctors and nurses at Northwick Park and I know they appreciate the support from the public. It is a huge challenge for this generation of healthcare professionals.
“Some fear for themselves and some for their families, like the rest of the country.
“My biggest worry now is care homes and particularly whether their staff will be tested soon as well as other frontline workers”.
Asked why Northwick Park was particularly badly affected, he said it was related to the relative number of older people in the area, as well as those with Type 2 Diabetes, which appears to be a risk factor for a severe covid-19 infection.
“I am trying to hold back from political point scoring,” he said, adding “we will have to have a public enquiry” into the handling of the coronavirus pandemic by the government as a debate rages over whether the response to the virus has been adequate.
Across the country, 3,605 people have lost their lives to the virus, with an increasing number of deaths expected to continue. Mr Thomas added that he has been informed the peak of the outbreak is expected to be in the next two to five weeks, although even the experts were unable to pinpoint or predict the exact dates.