Government guidance on reusing equipment comes as BMA reports half doctors in ‘high-risk’ areas suffering shortage of protection.

Doctors and nurses are facing “extreme shortages” of vital protective equipment, with the government issuing new clinical guidance for health staff to wear “alternatives” to gowns and consider the reuse of “single-use” equipment.  Frontline health workers have been told to wear reusable lab coats and long-sleeved patient gowns as alternatives to single-use gowns, and consider the “reuse of personal protective equipment”, even if it is “designated by the manufacturers as being single-use”.  When full-length gowns are unavailable, clinicians have been told to wear “disposable, non-fluid-repellent gowns/coveralls with a disposable plastic apron for high-risk settings and aerosol-generating procedures [such as intubation] with forearm washing once gown/coverall is removed”.