A wide range of measures are in place to ensure health and care staff are protected in their vital work responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Government acts in line with the latest guidance from Public Health England which continues to be updated during the current outbreak. The latest advice on use of personal protective equipment (PPE) published on Thursday 2 April updates the appropriate use of PPE in four categories:
- inpatient clinical settings
- primary, outpatient and community care settings
- ambulance staff, paramedics, first responders and pharmacists
- additional considerations in areas where there is sustained transmission
Full details are available online.
Government is committed to keeping staff informed of any changes in guidance, including in the use PPE, and staff have today been advised what the latest changes mean for them.
Information and advice regarding PPE and social distancing in the workplace are regularly communicated across the Department of Health and Social Care, reinforced by managers and supervisors. Stocks of full PPE are on the Island and on order ongoing, to ensure that it is provided quickly to all who require it in health and social care teams.
Senior Infection Prevention and Control (IFP&C) professionals with responsibilities across the Isle of Man have led specific training in relation to PPE for health and care staff. This training is standard and consistent, is available and delivered both in person and online and has been increased since January in anticipation of COVID-19.
Sessions have been held in the hospital and in community settings to explain protocols and to demonstrate the correct way to put on and take off PPE. Additionally, consultants have visited staff groups around the hospital including housekeepers, porters and nursing staff, to explain best practice and answer queries.
Infection prevention training is a fundamental part of training for all healthcare staff, to ensure patient safety and minimise the risk of cross contamination.
Hospital and care staff have been advised on what is appropriate for their roles and provided with the necessary equipment.
The IFP&C team has set up a dedicated mail box to deal with staff queries. This will be reviewed on an hourly basis during weekday working hours, with the aim of providing an answer within two hours. Immediate or urgent queries are raised via a phone call or bleep to the team.
Stocks of protective equipment have been centralised to ensure they can be monitored and that health and social care staff receive the correct PPE at the right time, to offer the best protection.
Supplies continue to be ordered and received by DHSC, and while worldwide demand is at record levels at present, the department continues to work relentlessly on ensuring that there is no shortage in the Isle of Man.