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Two-thirds of voters say government has done bad job getting protective equipment to NHS staff - poll

Paramedics and staff at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital wearing various items of PPE.

2 min read

A clear majority of British people believe the Government has done a bad job in providing personal protective equipment for NHS frontline staff, according to a new poll.

The YouGov survey also showed public support for the Government's overall performance in the coronavirus crisis is beginning to fall.

According to the results, 65% of UK adults think ministers have done a "fairly bad" or "very bad" job in getting healthcare workers the PPE they need.

By contrast, only 26% think they have done a good job in sourcing and delivering vital kit.

Meanwhile, 47% of voters said they approved of the Government's performance to date, compared with 32% who disapprove.

That gives Boris Johnson's administration an overall rating of +15%, which is down 10 points on a month ago.

Ministers have come under mounting pressure over PPE amid reports of shortages in hospitals across the country.

A consigment of 400,000 gowns which were due to arrive from Turkey on Sunday was also delayed for days, adding to fears the UK could run out of the life-saving items.

At the daily Downing Street press conference on Wednesday, chief medical officer Chris Whitty admitted there were shortages.

He said: "It is very clear that at the moment we are tight at different times for different items of PPE - it's not everything at all times but different things at different times have been very close to the line.

"At this point in time we are still close to the line, but at a national level we're not underwater on anything that I'm aware of."

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, who is standing in for Boris Johnson as he recovers from Covid-19, said the Turkish consignment had now landed.

But he added: "As Chris [Whitty] mentioned earlier, it is an incredibly competitive market and it just shows you that Turkish challenge that we had, how you need to have excellent co-operation with the Turkish."

Earlier, Labour claimed that 36 UK firms had offered to provide PPE to the Government but had been ignored.

At Prime Minister's Questions, Labour leader Keir Starmer said: "There’s a pattern emerging here. 

"We were slow into lockdown, slow on testing, slow on protective equipment. And now slow to take up these offers from British firms."

Mr Raab replied: "We have been guided by the scientific advice, the chief scientist’s advice, the chief medical officer, at every step along the way.

"If he thinks he knows better than they do with the benefit of hindsight then that’s his decision."

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