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Survey results: PPE and testing for clinicians during COVID-19

17 Apr 2020

Last week, we collated the views of almost 2,000 surgeons and trainees in the UK, to further investigate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and testing available for clinicians during the outbreak. Thank you to those who completed our survey, your experience and views have and will continue to feed directly to our work representing you to Government.

What was the purpose of the survey?

We are actively lobbying for increased Personal Protective Equipment and more extensive testing. We have been very clear that you should not put yourselves, your colleagues or your patients at unnecessary risk as a result of inadequate supplies and we have repeatedly argued for better protection. As a result of our work the Government issued improved and upgraded PPE guidance, but further to this we wanted to be in a position to better generate an understanding of local situations that indicate that unfortunately, that isn’t enough.

What did the survey results show?

Key findings of our survey include:

  • one third of those surveyed say they do not believe they have an adequate supply of PPE in their Health Board or Trust, enabling them to do their jobs safely; 
  • more than half of those that responded expressed scepticism about getting a COVID-19 test for themselves should they need it.

Regional and local variation*:

  • at the epicentre of the COVID-19 outbreak, London, a third of respondents (33%) say they do not believe their Trust has an adequate supply of PPE;
  • 36% in the north-west of England report a shortage;
  • 20% in Thames Valley and Wessex report a shortage;
  • In Wales 35% report a shortage and in Northern Ireland 29% report a shortage.

 What are we doing with these results?

As a College, we stand in a position to be able to speak up for the surgical profession to Government. We’re using these results to showcase that more needs to be done to manage supply and demand of PPE and testing around the UK. Our findings were recently reported by the BMJ and The Guardian, and we are working hard to generate further impact of these results in the hope to have your voice heard. Your protection continues to be our utmost priority.

Read more about how we are supporting you and the resources available to you during COVID-19.

*Where areas have not been quoted, the responses were more or less in line with the national average. We did not have a sufficient sample size in Scotland to quote these figures.

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