Most doctors still do not feel fully protected from coronavirus at work almost a year in to the pandemic, a major survey has revealed.
The British Medical Association (BMA) said its findings “tell a story of real worry” among medics.
The organisation, which has been regularly surveying doctors across the UK since April last year on their experiences and the issues they face in various settings, including GP practices and hospitals, said its latest results showed that just 28 per cent feel fully protected at work.
The BMA surveyed 8,153 doctors and medical students between 3 and 5 February. The latest figures were up from 11 per cent in April last year, but down on 41 per cent in July.
For the February survey, doctors were asked: “Taking everything into account, do you feel safely protected from coronavirus infection in your place of work?”
Of those who responded, around 8 per cent said they did not feel protected at all, while 64 per cent said they felt partly protected and less than a third (28 per cent) said they felt fully protected.
Chairman of the BMA consultants’ committee, Dr Rob Harwood, said it is “unacceptable that we are still seeing just how many doctors are not as well protected as they feel they should be in their workplace; and its gone on for almost a year”.
He added: “No one should have to go to work and not feel safe, but these results show that our doctors, the length and breadth of the country, seem to be doing just that – and that’s a terrible indictment.
“To be caring for patients, many of whom are seriously ill and need complex care, whilst anxious about the adequacy of your own protection from the virus, should not be happening in a 21st century health service.
“The BMA has been surveying doctors since April of last year and the results tell a story of real worry – worry founded on the knowledge that some of our colleagues have become seriously unwell or even died, possibly as a result of poor protection from the virus.”
The BMA said it is calling for better access to more protective face masks, Covid-secure rest facilities and for medics to be able to take the leave they have not been able to during the pandemic.