The NHS and people at the end of their lives will be the victims, as charity fears it is only a matter of days before it will cease to be able to protect staff from COVID-19.
Sue Ryder, the national healthcare charity, is now admitting patients in to its palliative care services with COVID-19 symptoms.
The charity, which has over 1,000 doctors and nurses providing expert palliative care to people at the end of life, is pleading for urgent provision of additional and continuous supply of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) their medical and nursing staff.
Heidi Travis, Chief Executive at Sue Ryder, said:
“For Sue Ryder’s doctors and nurses, access to significant amounts of additional Personal Protective Equipment is now critical.
“As a result of COVID-19 we are expecting an increase in people needing end-of-life care in the coming weeks and months.
“The NHS is asking Sue Ryder to plan to support more patients and yet our medical teams are already providing palliative care for patients with Coronavirus symptoms with only enough Personal Protective Equipment for a matter of days.
“This means that Sue Ryder will soon be unable to protect our doctors and nurses from contracting the virus. We will not put our staff at risk and so this will lead to staff shortages at a time when they are needed more than ever before.
“If we are to protect our staff against the spread of COVID-19 and continue to care for patients who are dying, in turn supporting the NHS, an immediate solution is needed.
“With a depleted workforce, there will not be enough staff to run the charity’s hospices and Hospice at Home services across England. This will lead to patients being transferred to hospitals which will put additional strain on the NHS.
“We are willing participants in the Coronavirus effort. We want to use our skills, expertise and experience to help in the months ahead, but this will simply not be possible if we cannot access the equipment needed to protect our staff.”
Carrie-Anne Taitt, 30, was diagnosed with incurable cervical cancer in January 2019; more than a year after doctors gave her the all clear.
She is currently receiving palliative care at home from Sue Ryder Nurses which enables her to be with her husband and two young children.
Speaking of her fears, Carrie-Anne, said:
“I have chosen to die in a hospice, but in the meantime, I rely on Sue Ryder Nurses to support me at home so I can be with my family. If they were unable to continue caring for me or my local Sue Ryder hospice was to close, there would be no other option but to receive my care in hospital. The hospitals are going to be full so where does that leave me?”
Sue Ryder is calling for urgent access to Personal Protective Equipment for its medical and nursing staff.
Update Summer 2020
We are very sad to share that Carrie-Anne died earlier this year. We are very grateful for Carrie-Anne and her family's support for our PPE campaign, and send our thoughts to her loved one at this very difficult time.
If you need support, please find out more about our Online Bereavement Services.