'THEY are still being let down' says union members after a number of NHS frontline staff are left with no basic protection against the coronavirus.

GMB, the union behind NHS staff working across Frimley Park, Heatherwood Hospital and Wexham, has called out Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust for not providing PPE (personal protective equipment) to staff dealing with Covid-19 patients.

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It comes after a Frimley Park consultant anaesthetist had to re-role as an intensive care doctor to support an "already full" ward full of patients on ventilators.

Nick Dennison wrote a public post on Facebook pleading people to self-isolate, after he chose to work on the frontline to support his 'overstretched' colleagues, instead of staying at home to support his three years old son with lymphoma cancer.

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He said: "The intensive care unit is already full of COVID-19 patients on ventilators [12 beds] with more requiring ventilation every day. 

"My hospital usually has 4-10 patients on ventilators and is planning and expecting 80 patients to require ventilation."

Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust said that looking after staff is their top priority, however.

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A statement from the Trust said: "All staff are trained in infection prevention and control measures for their role and we are following Public Health England guidance in relation to training and use of PPE (masks and other protective equipment) for Covid-19 for all staff who work with us. 

"We are responding to all staff concerns as fully and as promptly as we can. We are providing extra communications channels to ensure that any concerns about personal safety can be raised directly with the leadership team and relevant information gets back to everyone."


However, Nick who works on the frontline has said that his colleagues in other hospitals are off work due to being infected.

He added: "As health care workers, we are now expecting to catch it despite PPE. This virus has been transmitted around the globe unchecked and will not stop until it has no where to go."

Asia Allison, GMB regional organiser, said: “GMB members in these unprecedented time are risking their lives.

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"They are offering greater flexibility than ever in where and how they work, but find that they are still being let down by Trust management all the way to the very top. 

“The support staff are already in overdrive - overwhelmed and at high risk of anxiety and stress, before you even factor in the risk of the virus itself. 

"If the management don't wake up and step up, the Trust will find itself with a legacy of mental health issues, from the stress that this outbreak will have taken on its workforce."

Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust added: "We are sorry that GMB see this unprecedented national crisis as an opportunity to air their objections to our wholly-owned subsidiary proposal once again, especially as we have suspended progress on this so that we can focus on the most urgent issue of the day."