AN East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust boss has said its doctors and nurses looking after the sickest coronavirus patients have enough personal protective equipment to change it 30 times daily.
The organisation's medical director and consultant surgeon Jawad Husain revealed that it now had more than 100 Covid-19 victims in its care.
The vast majority are in the Royal Blackburn Hospital, with handful being cared for at Burnley General.
Mr Husain said the pandemic had seen demand for PPE kit - which includes gowns, trousers, gloves, respirators and visors - at the Trust rise by more than 2,000 per cent.
But he revealed that daily deliveries now meant it had enough for 30 changes of the vital safety equipment each day available to the medical teams looking after the sickest patients who were in critical care.
The consultant surgeon was responding to social media allegations that the Trust was still short of PPE equipment for its medical staff.
Mr Husain said: “Although there were well-documented delays and shortages of stock at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, we are now receiving daily deliveries so that we currently have enough PPE in stock for all appropriate staff to access.
“In Lancashire and South Cumbria we are working on a mutual aid basis, supporting each other and sharing equipment when stocks might run low.
“Our procurement and logistics teams are working 24/7 and receiving deliveries every day and night. In addition, there is an effective escalation protocol if trusts need additional equipment.
“Our PPE is a valuable commodity and so it is very important that it is used wisely. We are briefing our staff twice daily, which includes regular updates on the appropriate use of, and how to access, PPE."
Blackburn MP Kate Hollern said: “I have been contacted by East Lancashire Hospitals Trust staff concerned about the lack of PPE. I have spoken to the Trust who have assured me they have adequate supplies.
"I am pleased at this reassurance but will be keeping a close eye on it. We cannot send NHS staff into the coronavirus frontline without adequate protection.”
Russ McLean, chairman of the Pennine Lancashire Patient Voice Group, said: “I am heartened by the Trust’s assurances they have enough PPE for its needs, but I worry about what will happen if there is a surge in positive tests for Covid-19.”
He added: “It is clear there are shortages of this equipment across the country affecting hospitals and care workers across East Lancashire.
“This is mind-boggling in this day and age.
“I am worried that London appears to come first in the queue for PPE equipment, leaving the North West lagging behind.
“I have received many phone calls from staff in hospitals and GP surgeries concerned at the lack of proper protective equipment.”
Mr Husain said: “It is incredibly heart-warming that so many organisations, local companies and educational facilities are coming forward with offers of donations.
“We have gladly received these products which, once quality checked and provided they meet appropriate standards, are providing us with a buffer in our stocks, should we need them.
“The Trust would like to say a huge thank you to all the local suppliers."