Concerns have been raised over the quality of the personal protective equipment (PPE) being supplied to those working on the front line of the coronavirus crisis in Tayside.
One NHS Tayside employee, who wished to remain anonymous, contacted the Tele expressing fears that PPE supplied by the health board is not robust enough to effectively protect staff.
“The current masks we have are so thin, you can blow a lighter out through them,” she explained.
“But when we raise these concerns we are told that they’ve passed safety checks – that is despite the elastic loops popping off while people are wearing them.”
Despite assurances that all the equipment supplied by the health board complies with guidelines, employees have been left wondering how effective it is in keeping them safe from Covid-19.
The NHS Tayside employee added: “The masks are so loose that no matter how you try to wear them, there are gaps around the edges.”
Concerns about the quality of PPE being supplied in Tayside comes after similar fears were raised by nurses working in other areas of Scotland.
An anonymous nurse employed by the NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde health board spoke out about those working on the front line, saying they were being left exposed to the virus because of the “poorly fitting” surgical masks supplied to staff.
The whistleblower described having to wear masks which were not sealed and which did not have a valve or filter. She described the supplied PPE as “useless.”
A spokeswoman for NHS Tayside said: “NHS Tayside is committed to protecting staff and patients during the Covid-19 pandemic through the appropriate access, use and disposal of PPE in accordance with Health Protection Scotland (HPS).
“All PPE across Tayside is deployed in line with the latest HPS and Scottish Government guidance.
“NHS Tayside has established a PPE clinical group to provide ongoing support to staff and respond to the most common questions coming from staff.
“Staff are encouraged to report any concerns about PPE guidance or supply via their line manager for review at daily safety huddles to ensure action is taken as required.
“The Scottish Government has also created a dedicated email address for NHS staff to contact if they do not have what they need to resolve any specific supply issues more quickly.”
A Scottish Government spokesman said: “We are determined that all our hard-working health and social care staff and key workers get the right personal protective equipment to keep them safe.
“Any face masks which have been issued to NHS boards have been tested as required to ensure they remain safe to use.
“We currently have adequate stock of all forms of PPE supplies for the current level of demand and we have distributed more than 122 million items of PPE to hospitals and 37 million to social care providers since the start of March.”