Politics

Government says 84 health workers have died from coronavirus

The Covid-19 outbreak has so far killed 69 NHS workers and 15 care workers, the government has announced.

The news comes amid a shortage of protective equipment (PPE) for workers on the frontline of the outbreak, including gowns.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab told the House of Commons on Wednesday that 69 NHS workers had died, while Health Secretary Matt Hancock said in a statement later that 15 care workers had.

Mr Raab was standing in for Boris Johnson at the first “virtual” sitting of prime minister’s questions – with just a few MPs physically in the chamber and many dialling in over the internet.

In the last month health authorities have changed their advice on how to use PPE, instructing workers to not change between patients but only between “sessions” in order to make supplies last longer.

Labour leader Keir Starmer asked: “Can the first secretary tell us how many NHS workers have now died from coronavirus and how many social care workers have now died from coronavirus?”

Mr Raab replied: “Our key workers, whether they’re in the NHS, whether they’re in social care, who are fighting for us, tending for the most vulnerable in our society need our full support.

“That’s why it’s so important that we ramp up the testing, ramp up the PPE deliveries. On the latest figures my understanding is that 69 people have died within the NHS of coronavirus and I don’t have the precise figure for care homes.”

Speaking later Mr Hancock later clarified that the government’s tally of care workers to have died was 15.

“The number of social care staff who have sadly died is 15,” he said.

“And in the same way that we pay tribute to and remember all those NHS staff who died, so too we do for those who serve our country and look after people in social care.”

The platform Nursing Notes, which is run by nurses, reported earlier this week that 100 NHS and care staff have died as a result of the virus – a toll running well ahead of the official figures.

That data is collated by tracking reported individual deaths.

Representatives of intensive care staff warned at the weekend that the critical shortage of PPE could lead to some clinicians refusing to continue working on the front line.

The Royal College of Nursing has called for financial support for the families of workers who have died on the front line, and told its members they could refuse to treat patients if they don’t have the right protective equipment.

The RCN and unions representing health workers have also called for a minutes silence to mark the deaths.

READ MORE FROM SOURCE: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/coronavirus-nhs-uk-death-toll-government-latest-a9477921.html