Health organizations representing nurses and doctors want the same quality of PPE used in the United States to protect them from Covid variants in the hospital.
A team of more than 20 groups wants stricter rules to tackle the risk of airborne infection.
In an upcoming meeting with officials, to be held virtually, they will say the current PPE puts them at risk of developing issues.
The group, which includes the British Medical Association and the Royal College of Nursing, will advocate with government leaders responsible for PPE that they should get the US masks.
In America, frontline workers are using N95 respirators – also called FFP3 masks – which are effective in preventing aerosol transmission of the virus.
The RCN’s chief executive and acting general secretary, Pat Cullen, said: “We cannot give the virus any opportunity to spread if we have the means to prevent it.”
Currently doctors in the UK are using the surgical style masks as seen above in April last year
This N95 respirator – also known as FFP3 masks – is the most loved and used PPE in the United States
Royal College of Nursing acting chief executive Pat Cullen will request the new masks
“As we see new variants of concern emerge, we continue to demand that FFP3 masks be made more widely available and ventilation levels increased as a standardized approach.
“Along with many other organisations, we have always urged the Health Secretary and the Prime Minister to ensure greater protection for all nursing staff,” she added to the Nursing Times.
The question of appropriate PPE for doctors has been an issue that has preoccupied the government since the start of the pandemic.
He has also been plagued by accusations of cronyism over how certain companies got contracts to make the protective gear.
In November, the National Audit Office revealed officials had signed contracts for hundreds of thousands of face masks which were found to be unusable – wasting hundreds of millions of pounds.
Then-Business Secretary Alok Sharma refused to apologize for the extraordinary expense and cronyism allegations, saying there was ‘huge pressure’ to get PPE for the NHS at the start of the pandemic and during the first wave.
A doctor wearing one of the favorite masks working in New York during the pandemic
Workers at the Bloc Blinds factory in Magherafelt, where staff are currently making PPE, including face shields, for health workers battling the Covid-19 pandemic
He said: “We had to do an awful lot of work very quickly to secure the PPE and that’s what we did, and I’m not going to apologize for the fact that we rightly made that effort”.
The NAO report looked at 8,600 contracts awarded by the government between January and July.
These were worth £18bn, of which £17.3bn were new contracts rather than contract extensions. The bulk of the money, £12.3billion, went to PPE, with the rest going to other equipment and virus testing.
Ministers, MPs and civil servants could direct companies to a “priority” route and companies that received this VIP access were more than ten times more likely to win a contract than those in the regular route.
The leads arrived in a dedicated mailbox, but officials registered the sources in only half of the cases, although many came from ministers’ offices following whistleblowers from MPs about businesses in their constituencies.
The NAO highlighted an £840,000 contract with Public First for focus groups and communications.
The policy and research firm is owned by James Frayne and his wife Rachel Wolf, who both previously worked for Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove. Miss Wolf co-wrote Boris Johnson’s 2019 manifesto.
The NAO said there was no evidence that Mr Gove had been involved in the award, but “we found no documentation on the consideration of conflicts of interest”.
Mr Cummings’ association with Mr Frayne dates back to at least 2000, when they worked together on a campaign against Britain joining the euro. They also co-founded a right-wing think tank.
The report dealt with another potential conflict of interest in reference to Lord Agnew, Minister for the Treasury and Cabinet Office. The NAO report also explicitly exonerated Lord Agnew of any role in the contracts in its conclusion.
He owned shares in Faculty, an artificial intelligence company that was awarded three coronavirus contracts worth £3million for data analytics.
The faculty worked with Cummings on the Vote Leave campaign in 2016. The firm also worked for Cummings’ Dynamic Maps company under a commercial contract in 2018 and 2019.