Monday, June 01, 2020

Private hospital staff ‘at risk of infection’ due to shortage of face masks

Mar 02. 2020
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By THE NATION

Private hospitals nationwide are facing a critical shortage of sanitary face masks following the outbreak of the new coronavirus or Covid-19, Dr Chalerm Hanpanich, president of Private Hospitals Association, said.

“The Ministry of Public Health has ordered private hospitals to stand by for a large-scale outbreak and provide treatment to patients under investigation and those who have high risk of infection,” he said. “However, at present the shortage of face masks in the market has hindered the operation of private hospitals, which substantially increases the risk of medical staff getting infected while treating the patients, and the risk of hospitals becoming the hub that spreads the virus to other patients.”

Chalerm further explained that the reason for the current situation was the Department of Internal Trade (DIT)’s order making face masks a controlled product, forcing manufacturers to submit their products to the DIT, making it impossible for hospitals to buy face masks from their existing suppliers. “We have contacted the DIT to buy face masks but they told us to join the queue like other organisations wishing to buy face masks in bulk,” he added.

The president added that the association’s survey found that over 250 private hospitals nationwide have or will have inadequate supply of face masks. “We, therefore, would like to ask the government and Department of Internal Trade to provide sufficient face masks to private hospitals, or at least reserve enough supply for us to buy to prevent further spreading of the Covid-19,” he said.

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