Daniel Zeichner MP today backed Keir Starmer MP’s analysis on personal protective equipment (PPE) problems after the Labour leader said, “what we’re seeing here is an increasing gap between what the government says or thinks is happening and what the frontline are telling us.”

Mr Zeichner agrees that there is an increasing gap between the rhetoric coming from the government and what Cambridge staff on the front line are telling him.

A Cambridge care home manager has told the MP about supply chain problems:

“We received the 300 box of masks that were distributed a while ago but have not been able to source anymore.”

A Cambridge care home worker said:

“The PPE we have isn’t adequate to protect us from covid 19. I work in a care home and the virus is spreading through the building rapidly. We are just not properly equipped.”

A Cambridge healthcare support worker said:

“The PPE we have is inadequate. Surgical masks, a theatre cap, goggles, a plastic apron and sometimes a visor. We also wear scrubs. The visor is only there if someone has donated one from the 3D printed donations we are getting. On the instructions it says they aren’t intended for use in contact with COVID + patients. The PPE is inadequate. This is because the surgical mask does not protect from COVID as there is no tight seal, so the air that contains the virus can still be breathed in. The arms are bare. And the shoes that I wear are my own, so I have to take them home. I have recently tested positive for covid-19.”

Mr Zeichner said: “These are deeply worrying first hand accounts. Every day frontline workers are being forced to risk their lives because they don’t have the proper protective equipment. The government must sort out the PPE crisis urgently, not by standing at podiums and announcing huge numbers and targets, but by setting manufacturers to work on making what we need. This is a monumental government failure and afterwards we will need to learn lessons as this must never be allowed to happen again. Our NHS, social care and key workers deserve so much better than this.”

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