Hospitals in Ipswich and Colchester recruiting specialists to deliver personal protection

Ipswich Hospital Picture: GREGG BROWN

Ipswich Hospital Picture: GREGG BROWN

The trust which runs hospitals in Ipswich and Colchester is recruiting and training up to 200 specialists to manage and allocate personal protection equipment to medical staff across the two sites.

The majority of people who will become “PPE champions” are staff already working for the East Suffolk and North Essex Foundation Trust (ESNEFT) which runs the Ipswich Hospital and Colchester General Hospital.

But there is a need for some extra staff, and the trust has been advertising for new recruits on national websites.

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A spokeswoman for the trust said: “We are recruiting for PPE Champions to work with our teams at Colchester and Ipswich hospitals and at our community sites in Suffolk.

“The champions will help our staff to make sure they’re wearing the correct protective equipment for the job they are doing and will coordinate the supply and distribution to clinical areas.

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“Some of the champions will be made up of our own staff and volunteers but because it will be a 24/7 role, we are looking to recruit additional support from within the community.

“Full training will be provided by our Infection Control and Prevention team.”

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The news comes as PPE becomes a very hot political issue.

It was raised during Saturday’s government press conference led by Home Secretary Priti Patel. She said she was “sorry” if people feel there has been a failing regarding the supply of PPE to NHS staff.

After being asked twice if she would apologise to NHS staff and their families over the lack of “necessary PPE”, Ms Patel said: “I’m sorry if people feel that there have been failings. I will be very, very clear about that. But at the same time, we are in an unprecedented global health pandemic right now.

“It is inevitable that the demand and the pressures on PPE and demand for PPE are going to be exponential. They are going to be incredibly high.

“And of course we are trying to address that as a government.”

NHS England medical director Stephen Powis said it is “absolutely critical” that PPE is distributed to all those working on the frontline: “Clearly there is a global demand for personal protective equipment at the moment and I know that Government with our support is working night and day to ensure that we procure the PPE that we need.”

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