In yesterday’s SWAST Chief’s Bulletin, staff were told that the National Ambulance IPC Group met last week to consider the PPE required during prolonged delays to off-load patients at hospitals. They said that current levels of protection were still sufficient but gave additional advice on crew actions to minimise risk.
The CEO went on to say that; “SWAST’s position since the start of the pandemic has been that, where indicated by an individual’s dynamic risk assessment, we fully support our clinicians to wear additional PPE……Where additional respiratory protection is used, we would recommend the use of the powered hood.”
Your Unison Branch endorses this last piece of advice but would encourage members to complete early/continuous Dynamic Risk Assessments (DRA) and be mindful of any barriers to implementing the extra safeguards recommended by the IPC group such as: defective/inadequate Ambulance ventilation system, lack of adequately skilled staff to “rotate” the care of patients, the inability to preclude an essential patient escort or that the patient or escort cannot wear a mask for clinical reasons. Any of these issues would be examples of why members might consider a higher level of PPE along with numerous other considerations within a DRA. Please document any ‘upgrade’ decisions on the EPRR and contact your local Rep if any issues arise as a result of those decisions. We also encourage staff to Datix all cases where staff are queuing at ED and associated issues.
Other Ambulance Services are looking at or implementing more effective Type 2R masks for these types of situation and our Health and Safety team are talking to their SWAST counterparts about that now. Stay safe.
Unison Health & Safety Branch Officer.