PPE crisis at start of pandemic should not be forgotten, says senior Sheffield doctor
A leading Sheffield doctor says GPs almost ran out of PPE at the start of the pandemic which would have left them in an “impossible situation”.
Dr Zak McMurray, medical director of the Clinical Commissioning Group, said the lack of PPE during the first lockdown should not be overlooked.
He told a scrutiny meeting: “At the beginning of Covid we did almost run out of PPE which, for the clinicians, was an absolutely impossible situation.
“You’re treating a patient without PPE, potentially putting yourself at risk – and I think most clinicians would – but you also put the patient at risk or you put the next patient at risk. The PPE crisis was a major factor that shouldn’t be overlooked.
“Many of us probably weren’t able to see patients that we would have liked to because we had to put that threshold quite high.”
Dr McMurray said telephone and video consultations had been rolled out rapidly and many patients were happy with remote appointments. But he said any patients who wanted to see a doctor face to face should be able to.
“Now PPE is more readily available we’re in a much stronger position. I would like to think that most practices are able to just lower that threshold and give more options to patients.
“Within the practice I work in, we are finding by far the majority of patients like to have the telephone call and try an online consultation but we are absolutely clear that if you need to be seen we’ll bring you in and we’ll put the gear on.”