Tue 26 October 2021

Byline Times and Nursing Notes collaborate to pay tribute to the staff who have lost their lives during the battle against COVID-19 — but political questions over personal protective equipment remain.

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Deaths of frontline health and care staff reached an awful, unwanted landmark today with the passing of the hundredth staff member to lose their life while battling Britain’s Coronavirus outbreak.

Figures verified by Nursing Notes, a website representing nursing professionals, and shared with Byline Times reveal that 100 frontline health, care and related staff have now lost their lives during the pandemic.

The list includes 19 medical professionals (such as doctors), 49 nursing and midwife staff, nine allied health professionals, nine social care staff, 13 ancillary staff and a student nurse volunteer.

Byline Times will update its full of names list shortly.

Fresh fatalities among frontline staff have again raised questions about the Government’s handling of key aspects of the public health crisis, particularly the procurement and supply of vital personal protective equipment (PPE) since the outbreak began.

Despite weeks of warnings that stocks of vital masks, protective gowns and gloves are running low, some hospitals – and many care homes and mental health sites – are still desperate for fresh supplies of PPE.

Amid concern that an intended supply of 400,000 protective hospital gowns from Turkey has been delayed due to administrative issues, Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS Providers, warned that there was “no doubt” that some hospital trusts now faced shortages.

Unlike the Government’s official figures, Byline Times and Nursing Notes‘ data includes a wider range of NHS and care-related staff who have died since the pandemic began –including care home staff and hospital support staff, as well as NHS doctors and workers.

He added: “Given the current uncertainties over gown manufacture and supply, due to global shortages, we suggest that any future announcements on what gowns might be available for delivery, when, just focus on what we can be certain of. Bitter experience in recent weeks has shown that promised consignments of gowns cannot be relied on until they come, are checked and found to contain the right kit.”

A senior Whitehall source told Byline Times: “PPE stocks the world over are in short supply. We want all staff to have the highest level of protection from this virus while working. No country is finding it ‘easy’ to procure PPE stock, but there is enough out there. Ministers and officials are working extremely hard to obtain all available stocks for the NHS and other organisations and to continue to encourage fresh production of PPE from within the UK.”

Byline Times and Nursing Notes this week began a collaboration, under which Byline Times will update its figures for the number of frontline staff fatalities in line with Nursing Notes comprehensively researched data.

Both publications have long paid tribute to the extraordinary staff who have died, and their families, and Byline Times will also donate to a Nursing Notes fund used to plant a memorial tree for every health and care staff member who dies during the outbreak.

Unlike the Government’s official figures, Byline Times and Nursing Notes‘ data includes a wider range of NHS and care-related staff who have died since the pandemic began – including care home staff and hospital support staff, as well as NHS doctors and workers. Both publications believe the broader measurement of fatalities paints a more accurate picture of the sacrifices made by frontline health and care sector staff during this unprecedented period.

Nursing Notes uses a team of professional nurses to check fatalities and liaise with families and employers of staff who have sadly died as a result of their work. This means that the website is often able to confirm fatalities sooner than the Government – and also provide vital support to the families involved.

Last week, Byline Times and Nursing Notes revealed that 44 health and care workers had died since the Coronavirus outbreak began – but that figure has more than doubled over the past seven days.

Commenting on today’s tragic landmark, Matt Bodell, Editor of Nursing Notes and a registered nurse, said: “Our team of nurses are working tirelessly to ensure the name of every health and social care professionals who dies of COVID-19 while serving their patients is remembered. We are working alongside families and colleagues to ensure this done in a dignified and compassionate way. Every single one of these people dedicated their lives to improving the quality of life of others. Surpassing 100 deaths should serve as a stark reminder that more needs to be done to recognise and protect the health and social care workforce.”

For more information about the NHS, care and related staff who have lost their lives during the Coronavirus outbreak, click here to view Nursing Notes’ interactive map which acts as a tribute and memorial to each individual.


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