In a joint letter, signed by the CSP, a coalition of prominent health bodies has urged the government to act on the evidence around the need for better ventilation and higher-grade PPE.
The letter states that there is now 'direct empirical evidence that the virus is readily transmitted in health care settings beyond formally-classified aerosol generating procedures.’
This means health and care workers are at three to four times greater risk of developing and dying from Covid-19 than the general public and deliver care at 'huge personal risk'.
The signatories call on the government to:
- assess and improve ventilation in all health care settings to reduce airborne spread
- provide a precautionary higher level of respiratory protection for all health care professionals caring for people with known or suspected Covid-19, including in community settings and homes
- update the UK’s IPC guidance to reflect the latest evidence on airborne transmission of Covid-19
- collect and publish consistent data on health care workers who have contracted Covid-19 from likely occupational exposure so we can better protect staff
- publish scientific evidence on airborne transmission in health care settings, while supporting research to fill any knowledge gaps.
- There have already been a number of appeals and letters to secure safer conditions yet across the UK at least 930 health and care workers to date have lost their lives and many more are suffering from the long-term adverse effects of Covid-19
Karen Middleton, CSP chief executive, said: 'The physiotherapy profession continues to play a critical role in treating patients with Covid-19.
'They have quite simply worked tirelessly in the eye of the storm of this pandemic for almost a year and it is simply unacceptable that they are still delivering this care at huge personal cost.
We now have evidence which shows how this virus spreads and there is simply no excuse for not providing adequate protection for our members and everyone working in the NHS
'These concerns have continued to be ignored by governments across the UK so we are demanding that action is taken urgently to address the inconsistencies in guidance and in the protection of our members.'
The full letter, signed by representatives from over 20 of the UK's leading health organisations, is available to read here:
Letter to the Prime Minister on protecting health care workers
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