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GP practices having to acquire PPE from dentists and patients

GPs are resorting to acquiring personal protective equipment (PPE) from dentists, and their patients.

Practices around the UK are receiving supplies from dental surgeries, who have been told to close for routine procedures during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Others are urging patients to come forward to help amid a lack of equipment.

Judith Wood, practice manager of Norfolk’s Elmham Surgery, told Pulse: ‘We are grateful to local colleagues for the support they have given us in setting up a hot hub for practices in Dereham, including local dentists who have shared PPE.

‘As the supply chain improves, we hope this will be the only time we have to resort to these measures.’

Strachur Medical Practice in Argyll, Scotland, is also contacting its local dental surgery in search of PPE. 

Dr Robert Coull explained that the practice has also received respirators from local businesses, and gowns from elsewhere in the community. 

British Dental Association chair Mick Armstrong said: ‘Now routine care has suspended on the high street dentists want to see their kit put to good use, whilst ensuring that they have supplies for when business returns to something like normal.

‘Donations have already begun to care homes and hospices, and we are encouraging every practice to play their part.

‘Local dentists are busy providing advice and stepping up to work on the front line, in new urgent care centres and in our hospitals. Any spare supplies of masks can help keep other key workers in our communities safe.’

Meanwhile, Cheshire’s Wilmslow Health Centre was forced to appeal to its patients for PPE.

Dr Amar Ahmed told Pulse: ‘We went through all the usual channels for accessing PPE, and were told to call the helpline.

‘But we had already tried the suppliers it recommended, and as we were expecting a surge in coronavirus cases, had to ensure we were all protected.

‘There’s been a phenomenal response to the text we sent out, with Manchester Airport providing disposable ponchos; distilleries providing hand sanitiser; schools transporting eyewear and cottage-industries printing 3D visors, but our patients have been the biggest contributors.

‘Some even dropped their own FFP3 masks off, which has really brought the community together.

‘The GPs in the PCN have enough PPE for now, so we’re focusing on out-of-hours, district nurses and home carers.

‘We’ve had calls from all over the Manchester area, with people concerned about their family members working in GP practices.

‘[NHS] Cheshire CCG has been supportive, but the Government’s supply logistics seem to have ignored the needs of primary care.’

The Church Street Surgery in Kidderminster also received donations from the public this week, after masks offered by a dental practice were stolen the following day. 

This comes as a doctor who died with coronavirus was found to have urged the Prime Minister to ensure all healthcare staff have ‘appropriate PPE’.

Dr Abdul Mabud Chowdhury, 53, was a locum urologist in East London and died on 8 April after 15 days in hospital. 

On 18 March, he wrote on social media: ‘Dear Boris Johnson,

‘Please urgently ensure PPE for each and every NHS worker in the UK.

‘I hope we are by default entitled to get this minimal support for our safe medical practice.’