Doncaster & Bassetlaw Teaching NHS Foundation Trust: GMB Statement

GMB has been inundated with calls from GMB members, many of them front line nursing staff working in Covid-19 areas at Doncaster & Bassetlaw Teaching NHS Foundation Trust. Like our front-line staff we were outraged at the calls from the Trust to re-use PPE.

PHE’s new guidance for potential supply issues, especially gowns would only be implemented where there is an absolute critical shortage in supplies and would not overwrite any previous guidance ensuring staff are safe and are not placed in danger.

GMB wrote to the Trust asking for an immediate response.

Richard Parker the CEO has today issued a statement on the Doncaster and Bassetlaw Hive stating that:

‘We have listened to everyone's concerns regarding the re-use of gowns and the Trust has heard the staff’ although he states this is a safe practice, ‘The Trust will not be reusing the gowns’.

Please see below our email to the CEO, Richard Parker


Thursday 23 April, 2020
Mr Richard Parker OBE
Chief Executive
Doncaster & Bassetlaw Teaching Hospital Trust

Dear Richard

I write to you with regards the new PHE guidance on reusing contaminated long sleeve gowns in Covid 19 areas. The GMB have raised concerns over the PHE guidance new emergency guidance – 'Considerations for acute PPE shortages' with the Heath Secretary Matt Hancock, PHE and the Health & Safety Executive.

Further to your daily update to all staff on 22nd April 2020, the GMB Nottingham been inundated with calls from our members, many of them front line nursing staff working in Covid 19 areas at Doncaster & Bassetlaw Teaching NHS Foundation Trust.

While the GMB understand the national shortage of PPE and the requirements to manage stock levels more effectively, our front line members are outraged that your message advises that ‘long sleeved gowns can be safely taken of during a break, hung on a coat hanger and rail in specific areas (black zones) and rail, and re-doned following this guidance’.

Despite the PHE stating that the guidance has been sanctioned by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and aligned with World Health Organization the GMB cannot find any reference for this being evidence based practice for nursing staff. In the ‘worst-case scenario, ’ our members have reported that if they were required to follow your message it would make them feel very unsafe and scared to practice safely.
GMB members are dedicated, passionate and committed to ensuring that they continue to provide the very best care during these unprecedented times, but only with what they importantly consider the correct level of protection. What is being asked of them will inevitably cause a damaging breakdown of trust at a time when our members are working under intense pressures.

Please could you advise that if single use gowns do run out in high risk areas and our members decided that it’s not safe for them to practice in a ‘reused’ gown, then would they be supported by the Trust and how, if not, what if any action would the Trust take against them?

I appreciate that this a very difficult time for you, but it is my role to represent our members concerns and seek clarity on the above question for me to advise them accordingly on a situation that they ultimately wish to avoid


Harry Harrison
Ben Kirkham
GMB Organisers
Doncaster & Bassetlaw Teaching Hospital Trust




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