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Covid-19: Experts question guidance to reuse PPE

BMJ 2020; 369 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.m1577 (Published 20 April 2020) Cite this as: BMJ 2020;369:m1577

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  1. Abi Rimmer
  1. The BMJ

Doctors have expressed concern over new guidance from Public Health England that recommends reusing personal protective equipment in the face of shortages.1

The guidance, which also recommends alternatives for unavailable equipment, has been seen as an admission by the government of the PPE shortages facing healthcare staff. Rob Harwood, chair of the BMA’s Consultants Committee, said, “This guidance is a further admission of the dire situation that some doctors and healthcare workers continue to find themselves in because of government failings.

“Telling staff to use aprons in the place of gowns directly contravenes both Public Health England’s previous guidance and that of the World Health Organization. This is guidance that’s there to help keep healthcare workers and their patients out of harm’s way.”

The new guidance states that fluid resistant surgical masks and disposable respirators (FFP3/FFP2/N95) can be reused if they are neither damaged nor soiled and if they are …

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