Miss England has said she is concerned about the lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) available to NHS staff fighting Covid-19 on the frontline.

Trained doctor Bhasha Mukherjee, 24, from Lincolnshire, returned from charity work in India earlier this month to help battle against the pandemic at Pilgrim Hospital in Boston.

Ms Mukherjee has recorded a video diary in which she details her experience of life back on the frontline, highlighting the "grim" lack of PPE.

Download the new Independent Premium app

Sharing the full story, not just the headlines

"I've seen nurses with marks on their face from wearing the mask on the Covid ward. They have very little protection," said Ms Mukherjee in the video diary.

Ms Mukherjee added that nurses were not given N95 masks (dispoasble face masks that filter air to an industrial standard) as protection unless they were dealing with coronavirus patients receiving oxygen.

She said: "It's unfair, they've got families to go home to, it's just so sad. The nurses have more contact with positive Covid patients, they're changing the fluids and drip stands.

"Nurses are constantly in contact and unwittingly the virus can be spread to other parts of the hospital due to this appalling lack of PPE.

"I heard of a consultant with asthma who asked for the N95 mask and was refused. He's now seriously ill with Covid. NHS staff are falling like flies."

Ms Mukherjee said that only medics working in intensive care units were given access to PPE, while nurse were given basic surgical masks, "a pinny" and gloves.

The government has come under increasing attack in recent days over PPE shortages, with many hospital trusts saying they don't have adequate supplies to protect staff.

Over the weekend, stocks reached crisis levels in some trusts after ministers admitted they could not guarantee supplies would last the weekend.

On Sunday, a vital shipment of PPE for NHS frontline staff failed to arrive from Turkey. The delivery of 84 tons of PPE, including 400,000 gowns, was promised by Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick at Saturday's daily Covid-19 media briefing.

Michael Gove later confirmed to the BBC's Andrew Marr Show that the UK had sent 273,000 items of PPE to Wuhan province in China, where the outbreak started, earlier this year.

NHS staff expressed their anger at the failure to secure more PPE.

Doctors were banking on the government’s announcement of imminent extra supplies of PPE from overseas," said Dr Chaand Nagpaul, chairman of the British Medical Assosication.

“This really is a matter of life and death. Doctors and healthcare staff are left fearful for their own health and safety – this is shameful.”

At least 27 NHS workers are known to have died after contracting Covid-19, according to health secretary Matt Hancock.

The Independent has approached the Department and Health and Social Care for comment.

Comments

Share your thoughts and debate the big issues

Learn more
Please be respectful when making a comment and adhere to our Community Guidelines.
  • You may not agree with our views, or other users’, but please respond to them respectfully
  • Swearing, personal abuse, racism, sexism, homophobia and other discriminatory or inciteful language is not acceptable
  • Do not impersonate other users or reveal private information about third parties
  • We reserve the right to delete inappropriate posts and ban offending users without notification

You can find our Community Guidelines in full here.

Create a commenting name to join the debate

Please try again, the name must be unique Only letters and numbers accepted
Loading comments...
Loading comments...
Please be respectful when making a comment and adhere to our Community Guidelines.
  • You may not agree with our views, or other users’, but please respond to them respectfully
  • Swearing, personal abuse, racism, sexism, homophobia and other discriminatory or inciteful language is not acceptable
  • Do not impersonate other users or reveal private information about third parties
  • We reserve the right to delete inappropriate posts and ban offending users without notification

You can find our Community Guidelines in full here.

Loading comments...
Loading comments...