The British government have been criticised for sending personal protective equipment (PPE) to China, despite a huge shortage of the vital equipment for NHS staff.
The UK government sent over 270,000 pieces of PPE to China in February to help the country tackle coronavirus, the UK having depleted resources, The Sunday Times reported.
“But I think it’s important to stress two things there as well.
“The first thing is that the personal protection equipment that we sent to China was to help with the most extreme outbreak in Wuhan.
“That personal protection equipment was not from our pandemic stock. And, also we have received far more from China in personal protective equipment than we have given.”
The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) have issued drastic new guidance measures to nurses, after there have been more frontline deaths.
Nurses have been told they should “refuse” to treat coronavirus patients if they do not have adequate personal protective equipment (PPE), “as a last resort.”
The government have been accused of failing to deliver the vital PPE to frontline NHS staff placing them at high risk of becoming infected and passing it on to others.
Thus far 19 NHS staff have lost their lives after becoming infected with coronavirus as a result of not having the proper equipment. There are reports that a total of 34 healthcare professionals have died.
Dr Abdul Mabud Chowdhury,53, died in hospital after being in intensive care for 15 days.
He wrote a message to Boris Johnson on the 18 March urgently asking him to provide PPE for “each and every NHS worker in the UK.”
Nurses have been told that they can “refuse to work” meaning they can walk out over the lack of essential life saving PPE.
A spokesman said, “For nursing staff, this will go against every instinct. But their safety must not be compromised.”
Nurses have been warned, they could face corporate manslaughter charges in “very rare” cases should they walk away.
The RCN union will provide legal assistance where their members make this “enormously difficult decision.”
The RCN issued a seven-point safety plan for nurses to follow, with step six saying: “Ultimately, if you have exhausted all other measures to reduce the risk and you have not been given appropriate PPE in line with the UK Infection Prevention and Control guidance, you are entitled to refuse to work.
“This will be a last resort and the RCN recognises what a difficult step this would be for nursing staff.”
The union are advising all staff who chose to walk away must keep a written record for their decisions, and nurses must brace for being sacked.
They must further prepare in their written justifications for allegations of clinical negligence, and face criticism at an inquest, or criminal charges.
The Home Secretary Priti Patel said at a previous daily Downing Street briefing, said she was “sorry if people feel there have been failings” in not providing adequate PPE to NHS staff.
The total number of coronavirus deaths across the UK now stands at 16,060 and 120,067 people have tested positive for the virus.
England has 14,400 deaths, Scotland 903, Wales 475 and Northern Ireland had a total of 194.