NHS nurses unhappy with declining PPE quality

By Luke Pawley

Nurses worry over PPE quality amid rising COVID-19 cases

NHS nurses across Leicestershire are unhappy about the declining quality of their Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

The issues have arisen over a number of weeks, affecting nurses working in NHS hospitals and out in the wider community, including midwives and district nurses.

Nurses are feeling increasingly unsafe at work as the number of daily COVID-19 cases continues to rise and with Leicestershire remaining in the ‘high’ tier of restrictions imposed by the government.

“There has been a massive decline in the last few weeks,” said one community nurse, whose colleagues conduct a lot of home visits and must ensure their safety in unknown environments.

“There have been constant changes and each set (of PPE) has got worse and worse,” she added. “Our masks are snapping as soon as we put them on, the aprons are terrible and you only have to look at a pair of gloves for them to rip.”

Nurses working in hospitals have also noticed a decline in quality over time and are unhappy with procedures. The problem is understood to stretch across many hospitals across the city and county, increasing anxiety across several county NHS Trusts.

“The quality of PPE has been affected massively,” said one nurse at Leicester General Hospital. “We’re having to deal with more infections now than at the height of the pandemic as we have resumed loads of operations and procedures.”

With routine procedures continuing to run as the number of COVID-19 cases rise, the situation with PPE across the county is worse than ever for many members of staff.

“But with the pandemic still going on, and more COVID-19 patients in hospital than in March, we’re using more PPE than ever. Cost-cutting measures have been taken and the quality of material is getting poorer,” she added.

“There have also been problems with standards of infection prevention as use of disposable aprons is not being managed properly.”

Staff have been told that downgrades have been made due to a lack of local NHS funding. No further explanation or solution has been offered.

The NHS Leicestershire Clinical Commissioning Groups were asked for a comment but, at the time of publication, have not responded.

Leicestershire County Council’s Director of Public Health Mike Sandys has also failed to reply.

Web developer struggles in COVID-19 pandemic

By Kira Gibson

A web developer has learnt the struggles of being on mandatory lockdown from the government.

Scott Mokler (32) worked as a web developer for Profile Digital Agency in Huntingdon until they announced a temporary closure via their social media channels on March 23rd and let him go the same day via email due to a lack of income from clients.

The company ran off a number of clients bringing in an income and paying their retainers. However, due to the Coronavirus, clients have pulled out and aren’t paying the deposits so unfortunately the company had to make hard cuts as they couldn’t afford to pay a lot of the staff.

Scott is also a parent to five children and is having to deal with the ramifications of having the majority of his children under one roof all of the time.


Scott Mokler (Photo credit Kirstie Mokler)

He said: “The kids are struggling without the routine of not going to school.”

He added that because of the financial problems coming with being laid off, and companies closing due to this country lockdown, he is “trying to keep busy at home but limited to what we can do really.”

Unfortunately, the restriction on what you can do and where you can go has also had a negative impact on Scott’s mental health which has significantly changed his life.

There are pathways to get help for the mental health side of things but they are hard to access at this particular moment.

Despite all of the troubles that Scott faces being at home and dealing with this crisis, he still manages to smile and make his kids feel less stressed and upset whilst everything is going on.

For any help with your mental health in Cambridgeshire the crisis line is 111 and option 2. In Leicestershire, the crisis line number is 0116 305 0004. This line is open office hours and for an out of hours crisis please call 0116 255 1606. The Samaritans are open 24/7 in all areas on 116 123.


Coronavirus impacts on Pokemon group

By Kira Gibson

Many of the local Pokemon group in March, Cambridgeshire have been affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Almost all of the group have started working from home, if possible, and those who can’t have been trying to cope with the early closure of schools and worrying about keeping their families safe.

Laura Collop-Miller, one of the group admins, said: “I’m very fortunate that I can do my job easily from home with no disruptions.

“If anything, it [the outbreak] has increased my productivity.

“Socially it’s a struggle, I live alone and not seeing people for days at a time is not easy.

“I’m a carer for an elderly friend once or twice a week so my main priority is making sure that when I do go out, I’m much more aware of who’s around and how far away.”

There have been a multitude of different responses to the outbreak in the UK with some being frustrated as they’ve lost their job because of everything closing to try and halt the spread of the disease.

A parent in the group, Chantelle Banks-Tahir, said: “It’s not too bad apart from having to entertain the three kids all day long and the issues around food with supply and demand.”

Overall, the group has placed a ban on raiding (battling and catching rare Pokemon in groups) unless it is in keeping with government guidelines as many of the group use the game as an escape and an outlet for their mental health difficulties.


The Pokemon Group in July 2018 (Photo credit Stuart Mokler)

City Mayor Sir Peter Soulsby gives update on Leicester’s response amid Coronavirus outbreak

By Samuel Gill

City Mayor Sir Peter Soulsby gave an update on the current state of the Coronavirus in terms of Leicester’s current planning at tonight’s Council Meeting.

During his opening statement, Mayor Soulsby moved quickly to give Leicester’s position and also an overall message to the people of Leicester, with there being now five confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the city.

Mayor Soulsby said: “We are coming to grips with a pandemic unprecedented in our lifetime. I understand that many are fearful and anxious.

I want to offer some reassurance to the people of Leicester that it’s council is doing all it can to help keep people safe and to keep our city running.”

“This morning we were informed that there have been five confirmed tests for Coronavirus in Leicester however of course a note of caution it’s widely accepted that those figures don’t represent the true extent of the spread,” he continued.

“Our duty is now clear, a duty to protect loved ones, to protect neighbours, friends, key workers and to protect our fellow citizens. As a council we had plans ready drafted up from people across the organisation so as a result of that forward planning, we’re not having to waste time on creating plans but implementing them.”

While for the city’s venues such as De Montfort Hall, they will close indefinitely, with Curve Theatre and Y Theatre also in a similar position, libraries and museums are among the public spaces ran by the Council that will not be closed for the time being.

Soulsby also revealed there will be no pursuit of council tax arrears and no council house evictions for those who are deeply affected by this.

As well as that, the council will move to utilise the uncapped hardship fund – including emergency living grants – with an increase from £27m if necessary as the city prepares for more cases likely in the coming weeks.