Sleaford MP reveals Lincolnshire hospital staff being issued with protective gear in case of potential coronavirus patients

Sleaford and North Hykeham’s MP says Lincolnshire hospitals are being provided with pods and staff issued with specially fitted masks in case staff come into contact with patients infected with the novel coronavirus.

MP and paediatrician Dr Caroline Johnson attended a briefing with the Chief Medical Officer yesterday (Tuesday) to get more information on what is being done to control the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, also known as COVID-19.

The number of cases of infection in China and around the world increase, including eight diagnosed people in the UK, Dr Johnson says: “The Government is working to ensure there is clear guidance available and is using containment by isolation and contact tracing.

“So far this has proven relatively effective, but preparation is underway just in case the virus spreads more widely in the UK.

“Local hospitals are being provided with pods and staff with specially fitted masks to protect those who may come into contact with infected patients, and I’m pleased that both the Health Secretary and the Chief Medical Officer were very clear that all necessary resources are being provided to the NHS to prepare, both to support patients and protect staff.”

She went on: “The main symptoms to be aware of are a cough, a high temperature and shortness of breath. Official advice is to always use tissues and dispose of them immediately, wash hands frequently and avoid close contact with anyone who appears unwell. Anyone who has travelled to China, Thailand, Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, South Korea or Malaysia in the last fortnight and who have mild symptoms should self quarantine and call 111 for support.”

Dr Caroline Johnson, MP for Sleaford and North Hykeham EMN-201202-175330001

Dr Caroline Johnson, MP for Sleaford and North Hykeham EMN-201202-175330001

In the House of Commons Dr Johnson referred to the precautionary measures being put in place in Lincolnshire hospitals for staffr safety when treating patients who may or may not have the coronavirus.

She said: “Will the Secretary of State confirm that that is part of a wider package of ongoing policies and procedures in the NHS to keep our staff safe when treating these patients?”

Matthew Hancock Secretary of State for Health and Social Care confirmed this was the case, saying: “Yes, of course. Making sure that we have the equipment to keep our staff safe is a very important consideration — keeping medics safe is very important not only for them, but for the public, because they provide such an important service.”

Clinical advice to medical centres from NHS England states that a wide range of disinfectants are effective to protect against it. Personal protective equipment and good infection prevention and control precautions are effective at minimising risk

In view of this, hospitals and other clinics have been advised to review their infection prevention and control procedures and ensure adequate supplies and equipment are stocked up (with training) to ensure they are protecting against contamination.