Question Time: NHS staff deprived of ‘coronavirus armour’ in ‘national scandal’


The Government has been slammed for depriving NHS workers of the ‘armour’ they need to fight coronavirus.

Richard Horton, editor of the medical journal The Lancet, described the shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) as a ‘national scandal’.

Mr Horton said the Government had ‘wasted’ February in its response to the outbreak, during BBC Question Time tonight.

He added: “It’s a national scandal. We shouldn’t be in this position.

“We are putting our health workers, who we have all just clapped here, in the front lines without the armour they need to defend themselves.

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Richard Horton said the Government ‘wasted’ February in its response to the virus

“The hypocrisy of clapping NHS workers and yet the Government not supporting them in going into that frontline is tragic and it was preventable.”

Mr Horton said NHS employees were wearing surgical masks and thin plastic aprons which did not meet World Health Organization standards.

He added that they were also relying on rubber gloves which cut off at the wrists, leaving their arms exposed.

NHS workers have complained about shortages of PPE

“We knew in the last week of January that this was coming,” he said.

“We wasted February when we could have acted. Time when we could ramped up testing, time when we could have got got PPE ready and disseminated. We didn’t do it.”

The editor, also a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, said the Government was exposing health workers to danger.

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Coronavirus outbreak

Mr Horton’s rant was well-received on social media, with many praising him for sticking up for NHS workers.

Piers Morgan said the guest ‘skewered’ the Government on the issue.

He tweeted: “The editor of The Lancet¬† @richardhorton1 ¬†is absolutely skewering the Govt. #coronavirus strategy on #bbcqt, fact by cold hard indisputable fact.”

One Twitter user said Mr Horton ‘absolutely demolished’ the Government.


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