Leeds hospice director issues emotional plea for PPE as stock due to run out 'within days'
Elaine Hill, director of the Headingley Hospice, said she had "never experienced anything like this" and backed warnings made by charity chiefs at Sue Ryder - which runs hospices across the country - that without sufficient Personal Protection Equipment (PPE), they can no longer continue to offer end-of-life care.
She said: "I have worked in healthcare as a nurse and a leader for many years and never experienced anything like this.
"I never know when the next batch of supplies are coming, or what will be in that batch, I never know what the day will bring. We can go from no cases of coronavirus to three within a few hours. To see a young nurse with tears in her eyes above her mask is heart wrenching.
"As the hospice director I have a responsibility to keep patients, staff and visitors safe and without adequate PPE that is not possible.
"We provide PPE for visitors when it is needed but this further depletes our supplies. We are doing everything we can to lessen the footfall, so visiting is restricted to one visitor when someone is at the end of their life.
"I had to watch a grown man cry as he left the hospice not knowing when he would see his mother again."
Bosses at Sue Ryder, which employs over 1,000 doctors and nurses, have warned they are due to run out of PPE "within days".
The charity has been forced to buy PPE through private companies but said these are "poor quality and in most cases ineffective".
A statement said: "Without immediate changes to the PPE supply chain the charity will have to cease providing care for dying people across the country which will put significant additional strain on the NHS."
The charity was forced to issue an urgent appeal for cash earlier this month after anticipating a £12m funding gap over the next three months, following the closure charity shops and cancellation of fundraising events.
After repeated calls to the Government for funding help, the charity said it was turning to the public "out of desperation" in order to help keep its hospices open.
He said he put a call out last week to anyone who can produce or source PPE and said: "The response has been amazing and we have managed to obtain thousands of masks, visors and gowns that we have been delivering to our care facilities in north Leeds.
"I will be continuing in this effort until such time as adequate PPE gets to our care sector."
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