Working on the front-line of the coronavirus pandemic as ambulance staff means you are at increased risk of infection yourself.
Your employer has a legal responsibility to provide you with the appropriate PPE to reduce any personal risk.
We have specifically raised the concerns of ambulance staff with employers. We are asking all ambulance trusts to:
- Carry out suitable and sufficient risk assessments to keep staff safe
- Give staff access to those risk assessments to give them confidence and reassure them that everything is being done to keep them as safe as possible.
- Explain clearly to staff the scientific evidence employers are using when they make decisions about the provision and use of PPE.
- Make sure staff can access the correct PPE for the work they are doing.
- Provide suitable and effective training and instruction to staff on how to use PPE.
- Follow national and local infection control guidelines.
- Give staff clear instructions on what to do in the event of PPE not being available.
In the ambulance service, your dynamic risk assessment should dictate the level of PPE you should use.
The role of an individual’s dynamic risk assessment in choosing what PPE to use is outlined in PHE’s COIVD 19 guidance to ambulance trusts.
Ambulance employers recommend that staff wear a minimum of level 2 PPE:
- disposable gloves,
- disposable apron,
- fluid repellent surgical mask,
- and eye protection, if there’s a risk of splashing, for all patients.
This decision is based on a recommendation from the National Ambulance Infection Prevention and Control group after they considered the PHE advice. All ambulance employers should be now communicating this to their staff.
In the event that you don’t have the correct PPE to treat a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patient ambulance staff should stand off and request that a resource with the correct PPE does.
UNISON has been vocal and firm with the government, the NHS and other employers in health and social care to get clear guidance and supplies to all health and care staff.
You can also share your concerns with us here:
Any stories we received will help us to take up your difficulties at a national level.