Royal College concerns require swift response, says Bradshaw

Alliance Health spokesperson Paula Bradshaw MLA has said a swift response is required to a survey showing nearly half of anesthetists are not confident they will have the required drug supply over the next month.

The survey by the Royal College of Anaesthetists said 40 per cent of respondents are not confident they will have the supply, while 17 per cent are off work with COVID-19 symptoms.

“The findings of this survey bring into sharp focus the issues we already knew were there – significant concerns of protective equipment, stress because of work pressures and mental strain, and inadequate testing,” said Ms Bradshaw.

“In just the past few days we have had misleading advice from the UK Government concerning PPE supplies and a fundamental failure to ramp up testing to anything like the level previously stated.

“People, not least our front-line workers, are rapidly losing faith in the UK Government to deliver anything at all. We were, for example, promised 100,000 tests a day by the end of the month yet capacity is only at 40,000 and only half that capacity is regularly used. Yet 20 per cent of anaesthetists cannot access adequate testing for patients, rising to 50 per cent for their own household members. As a result, months into the crisis, we have a backward testing strategy accompanied by inadequate PPE supply leaving key workers and their family members exposed.

“The Health Minister here needs to use his office rapidly to find out why targets are being missed so appallingly, and what can be done to correct the situation here in Northern Ireland.”