A member of the Welsh Assembly has said that he will return to the NHS to help in the fight against coronavirus.
Dr Dai Lloyd is a Plaid Cymru AM for South Wales West and Chair of the Assembly’s Health Committee.
He said that he had received an email from Swansea Bay Health Board two days ago with a request for volunteers to return to the front line of the health service.
Dr Dai Lloyd was a full-time GP in Swansea before entering politics, and he continued to work as a doctor for one day a week until November of last year.
The Welsh Government has been calling for health and social care workers who have recently retired or left work to return to help tackle a coronary virus pandemic.
“In these difficult times, I would be glad to contribute to the work of the NHS in whichever way the health service feels I can be of best assistance,” he said.
Earlier today Plaid Cymru Health Minister Rhun ap Iorwerth AM raised concerns that assurances about the testing of key health and care staff didn’t match what’s happening on the ground.
The Ynys Môn AM said that workers were contacting him to raise concerns that testing was too slow and that equipment being promised wasn’t being delivered.
“We’ve been told for some time that front line that health workers were top of the list for testing. In fact, over a thousand tests have been carried out on frontline NHS workers, but it’s not enough,” he said.
“We need widespread testing to track the spread of the virus but also so staff who are having to self-isolate are able to get back to work if they test negatively.
“One member of NHS staff at Ysbyty Gwynedd described claims that staff were being tested as ‘rubbish’. One GP surgery said they’d been turned down for tests on 4 GPs where were self-isolating and unable to work. I know of one Dr whose test went ‘missing’.”
On Personal Protective Equipment, Mr ap Iorwerth says there are very widespread concerns.
“Concern over protective equipment has become one of the defining features of this crisis,” he said. “Health and care workers need to be protected, and they need to feel safe. In other sectors, too, where key workers are being asked to carry on with their duties, there needs to be adequate protection.
“The care sector appears particularly stretched, with one care home saying they have access to only ‘tiny’ amounts of supplies. This needs to be resolved.
“One senior health official told me that there needed to be some more ‘honesty’ about the challenge with PPE. The Government has ordered a review, Let’s hope that gives us the true picture. Key worklers deserve no less.”
Responding to the new UK-wide PPE guidelines published today, Health Minister Vaughan Gething said it was his priority to make sure frontline NHS and social care staff could do their jobs safely and with confidence.
“I know many healthcare and social care staff have expressed concerns about whether they have had access to the right personal protective equipment to do their job,” he said.
“Over the last few weeks, we have distributed more than 5m items of PPE from our pandemic stocks – over and above the normal supplies held by the NHS – to ensure staff have the protective equipment they need. Supplies have been distributed to hospitals, GP surgeries, pharmacies and to all local authorities to be sent to social care settings throughout Wales.
“Last week, a rapid review of the PPE guidance in the UK was carried out by the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges and Public Health England. The Deputy Chief Medical Officer for Wales was involved in this review. Today, new guidance, which applies across the UK, has been published.
“The World Health Organisation had endorsed the UK approach to PPE. This new guidance goes beyond what is required by WHO and provides extra reassurance to frontline staff, recognising their concerns and fears.”