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PPE 'designed for women' needed on frontline

There is growing concern that standard personal protective equipment (PPE), which often has a unisex design, doesn't always fit women properly.

The Department of Health said the kit is designed to protect "both genders". However, healthcare workers are saying that even the smallest sizes are too big for some women - who make up 77% of the NHS workforce, according to NHS Digital figures from 2018.

If it is too big it can be less effective in providing a complete barrier to the virus.

"PPE is designed to be unisex and offer protection for both genders, although some products are available in different sizes to enable fit to both small and larger frames," said the Department of Health, in a statement.

But the Royal College of Nursing has described "one-size-fits-all" personal protective equipment as "problematic" and "restrictive" when it can be worn for up to 12 hours during shifts. PPE includes gloves, masks, gowns and face shields.

"Nurses can find it very difficult to treat patients if this equipment is so uncomfortable it makes them hot and unwell," said Rose Gallagher, professional lead for infection prevention and control.

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Source: BBC News, 29 April 2020


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