Carers, NHS staff and their relatives have spoken of their concern about a lack of personal protective equipment.

One carer said he had to buy face masks online and a Swindon doctors’ surgery issued an urgent appeal on Facebook for protective masks.

Great Western Hospital said its staff had the right PPE to be able to treat patients. Swindon Borough Council said it was working with the army and the NHS clinical commissioning group to set up a local distribution centre to get PPE to doctors’ surgeries and care homes.

One professional carer, based in Royal Wootton Bassett and working for a private firm, said he was buying his own face masks on Ebay.

The man, who spoke out on condition of anonymity, said his employers were providing gloves, aprons and hand sanitiser. Staff had been told the company had ordered 10,000 face masks but it was suggested the masks might not be needed until patients were showing coronavirus symptoms.

“My take on that is when they’re showing symptoms it’s far too late. By that point you don’t know how many other people have got it. They need the precautions there.”

He was concerned about potentially passing the virus onto his mother, who suffers from a lung condition, and his young son.

The husband of one GWH nurse said he was really concerned staff did not appear to be getting enough PPE. “Thousands of NHS staff are putting themselves right into the front line and their lives and health in real and direct danger.

“For all the families back at home we want to know that they are being given the best possible chance of maintaining their health. And that’s not just for selfish reasons, love them as much as we do, it’s because if they are ill, they can’t continue to help those most in need.

“Everyday my partner goes into work I worry for them. I’d be a little less worried if I was confident that they are being given full equipment.”

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Earlier this week, Westrop Medical Practice, which runs surgeries in Old Town, Blunsdon and Highworth, took to Facebook to appeal for donations of specialist face masks.

Over the past week, schools have donated hundreds of pairs of goggles and clinical gloves.

Nationally, huge concern has been raised over PPE apparently not getting to frontline NHS staff and carers.

BMA consultants committee chairman Dr Rob Harwood, said: “Doctors are placing themselves at significant risk by treating patients on the frontline and there are concerns that sometimes this is without adequate PPE.”

The goverment has made assurances that millions of pieces of kit have been delivered across the country and that staff with concerns can call a national helpline.

At Tuesday’s daily Downing Street briefing, Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove said: “Just yesterday hundreds of thousands of aprons, eye protectors, respiratory masks, surgical masks and gloves reached the frontline and there is a 24-hour helpline if any frontline NHS worker is concerned about not having the PPE equipment they need, they can call in order to ensure that PPE is delivered.”

The Adver understands Swindon Borough Council is working with Swindon CCG and the army to set up a local distribution system to get PPE to surgeries and care homes.

Great Western Hospital said it was following national guidance on the use of PPE and speaking regularly with NHS bosses to make sure staff were provided with the appropriate kit.

A spokeswoman said: “Staff have the right personal protective equipment to be able to treat patients and we will continue to make sure they do.

“We are using a lot of our supplies, but we are continually monitoring stock levels and ordering enough equipment to ensure our staff are protected at all times.”

A spokesman for the CCG added: “At this challenging time, we are doing all we can to support our local health and care organisations in their sourcing of as much personal protective equipment for their teams as possible, and this includes identifying adequate storage facilities.

“Of course, it is no secret that supplies of PPE are in high demand and we would like to reassure our teams on the frontline that we remain in constant contact with those in the supply chain to highlight any shortages and make urgent requests for further equipment.”