Orkney’s MSP, Liam McArthur, has today (Thursday) sought assurances from both NHS Orkney and Ministers that frontline health and care staff in Orkney will have access to the personal protective equipment (PPE) they need.
It follows an acknowledgement by the Chief Medical Officer, Dr Catherine Calderwood, that improvements are needed to the supply and distribution of protective resources to health boards across Scotland, as well as concerns raised with Mr McArthur at a local level.
Mr McArthur has discussed these concerns with NHS Orkney’s senior management and also written to the Health Secretary, Jeane Freeman, to highlight the impact that any potential delays could have on the health and safety of frontline staff. He urged the government to ensure that supply chains are robust and meet the needs of islanders in a timely fashion.
Orkney’s MSP commented:
“Our health and care staff are going to exceptional lengths during this unprecedented crisis to protect our communities and provide support to the most vulnerable and those at risk. Their efforts are truly incredible, and we owe them a huge debt of gratitude.
“As we ask our health and care staff to look after us and our loved ones, however, we absolutely need to make sure that we are looking after them. This means ensuring they have the personal protective equipment they need to keep them safe while doing their jobs.
“Concerns have been raised with me over recent days about shortages and delays in getting protective equipment. With demand likely to grow over the coming weeks, health and care staff need confidence that this issue is being urgently addressed.
“I was pleased to hear the Chief Medical Officer acknowledge these concerns earlier today and confirm that steps will be taken to improve distribution of PPE to health boards across the country. I have followed this up with both NHS Orkney and the Health Secretary, highlighting the particular challenges faced in supplying equipment to the islands and seeking assurances that the needs of islanders will be met.
“During these difficult times, it is crucial that everything is being done to support our frontline health and care staff and protect them as they work to protect patients and the wider public”.