Health care workers have raised “grave concerns” over the adequacy of protective equipment provided to them while treating coronavirus patients.
More than 100 medical professionals said they were in the “frontline battle against an invisible enemy”.
They have signed an open letter to the Scottish Government over the issue, which they say is leaving them and their patients at risk.
The letter also states that the virus has caused “upheaval” and that people are suffering from anxiety as a result of death rates. By Tuesday, a total of 296 people had died in Scotland from Covid-19.
It says: “Health care workers are falling ill and dying due to Covid-19.
“We believe it is vital that essential workers are given adequate PPE at the very least, to protect themselves and in-turn their patients from this new virus.
“At present with current PPE we believe that the risk of becoming infected and/or passing infection between patients as a consequence of inadequate protection is simply too great.”
Medics say they have been given “thin plastic aprons” which cover “very little” of their bodies and surgical masks that don’t protect them from anything airborne, as well as “flimsy” eye cover which does not offer enough protection.
The letter says: “Even the World Health Organisation guidelines state a surgical gown is a minimum, but here in Scotland we should be doing so much better for our dedicated health care workers who are risking their well-being daily to help combat this potentially fatal virus.”
A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “We attach the highest priority to the protection of our frontline social care and healthcare workers, and the detailed clinical guidance issued last week was jointly prepared by senior expert clinicians across the UK, was jointly agreed by Scotland’s Chief Medical and Nursing officers and contains specific detail about what PPE should be worn, by which staff and when.
“As the Health Secretary announced last week, we have introduced four direct supply lines for PPE, a streamlined ordering system for all staff who need PPE and a new dedicated email address for any health or social care worker who has any concerns about PPE supply to make contact with us immediately. Where we are alerted to any local issue about PPE availability, we act immediately to address these.
“We are clear that appropriate eyewear protection must be provided in accordance with UK four nation guidance. We have adequate supplies of PPE in place and our new supply line measures are ensuring that the right equipment reaches the right locations with the highest possible urgency.
“The Health Secretary had discussions with Andrew Buist and Lewis Morrison of the BMA, last week, on key issues including PPE and will continue to engage with them both regularly during this time.”