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15 April 2020updated 06 Oct 2020 9:45am

Health workers could reuse protective equipment under “last resort“ PHE plan

By Samuel Horti

Health workers might have to reuse protective gowns and masks under “last resort” plans to tackle the coronavirus, according to a leaked Public Health England document.

The document, seen by the BBC, also suggested buying eye protection meant for building work or sportswear if no goggles or face shields are available, using washable patient gowns if disposable stock runs out, and sterilising face masks so they can be re-used.

The draft document, dated 13 April, said: “These are last-resort alternatives, but given the current in-country stock and the reduced ability to re-supply, we are suggesting that these are implemented until confirmation of adequate re-supply is in place.” The plans would need to be reviewed and approved by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Emails obtained by the BBC showed some hospitals have already begun laundering single use gowns.

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