Concern over lack of protective gears for healthcare

professionals Kolkata, March 26 (PTI) Discontent has been brewing among doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals over shortage of protective gear in hospitals, with many of them threatening to cease work if not provided with necessary kits to guard against Covid-19.

Several nurses at the Beliaghata ID Hospital had on Wednesday said they would attend to the patients only after receiving personal protection equipment (PPE) masks, gloves and full body suits - following which authorities promised to look into their concerns.

PPE supplies have been drying up since last week following a sudden spurt in demand among medical professionals and others engaged in essential services.

'We are risking our lives and treating the infected as well as the suspected patients. We have been asking for masks and gloves for the past five days but the authorities are not paying heed to our demand. We are worried. If we do not get personal protection equipment, we might have to stop coming to work,' a doctor at a state-run hospital said.

The situation is no different in the city's private hospitals, where doctors are scared of attending to patients in absence of protective gear.

'Some of us are conducting surgeries without the PPE, knowing well that it's a risky thing to do, a medico at a private hospital said.

Around 50 doctors have stopped visiting the outpatient department of another private hospital in the city since last week, citing lack of the PPEs.

'Since there has been a huge demand for masks, we have decided rationing their usage... It's quite unfortunate that some of our doctors are working without any protection... If they refuse to treat patients with Covid-19 symptoms, we have no idea how to convince them,' a spokesperson at a reputed hospital, off EM Bypass, said.

According to an official of the state health department, any medical facility requires at least 20-30 PPEs every day.

'But private hospitals are getting not more than 100 PPEs in a week...we can understand that's not enough. We can understand their concern,' the official added. PTI SCH RMS RMS