A nurse on the coronavirus frontline says she has quit her job after working for six weeks “without hand gel or face masks”.
Laura Demmen, 33, walked out after going weeks without hand gel, a protective face mask or gloves as the COVID-19 pandemic spread across the UK, The Sun reports.
The Croydon NHS Trust has denied her claims. Ms Demmen claims she arrived for work to find no soap or hand gel – and had to leave her patients waiting for nearly two hours as the matron found a single box.
The following week there were COVID-19 patients in the ITU, which shares a door with Ms Demmen on the Duppas 1 and 2 wards at Croydon University Hospital, south London.
There was still no hand gel or protective masks for the next fortnight, she claimed.
“Every bed had no sanitiser and my manager said it’s because the housekeeper’s off work and there’s a national shortage,” the mother-of-one said.
“But this doesn’t make it right. How are staff supposed to physically work with multiple patients in a 12-hour shift if they can’t wash their hands in between.
“I work amongst cancer patients – I can’t go without washing my hands. We’re all having to go to the kitchen to use the hand washing facilities.”
Ms Demmen decided to quit her job on March 15.
Speaking to the site practitioner over the phone, she said: “I am now leaving the ward because I cannot risk going back to my (five-year-old) son, who’s at home waiting for me, picking up anything when I can’t even wash my hands, let alone put on a pair of gloves.”
She told her director Anthony Thompson that she would not return until he ensured there was going to be enough PPE (Personal Protective Equipment).
He is said to have suggested that she would be moved to another ward with PPE to stop her resigning, on March 23.
She was also told that she would go without pay until the move, however she allegedly never heard from him again.
“I went along with it because I wanted to work,” Ms Demmen said. “Of course I would’ve taken the opportunity to move somewhere safer.
“But he refused to answer my calls and I never heard anything again.”
She officially resigned four weeks later on April 27.
Ms Demmen was born and trained at the Croydon hospital and has worked there for four years.
“I’ve had trouble sleeping, been emotionally and mentally stressed because I am worried about being able to afford my accommodation, buy food, pay bills and live without any stable financial income.
“I’m literally living off my savings but that won’t last me. I’m so desperate that I would work in McDonald’s, Sainsbury’s or Tesco.”
A spokesman for the Croydon NHS Trust said: “We have not had any shortages of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and all of our staff have received clear guidance on how to order more equipment as well as advice on what is required to protect patients and staff.”
This article originally appeared on The Sun and was reproduced with permission