UK nurses have been warned not to wear their uniforms in public amid reports of medical staff being abused by the public and ID badges being stolen in order to gain preferential treatment.
In an email published by The Times, nurses have been told they can’t wear their uniforms to and from work “until further notice”.
“There have been reported cases of some nurses being challenged by the public so this is not just to protect you from carrying anything on your uniforms but potential abuse,” the email read.
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An unnamed nurse also told the UK newspaper she “wasn’t surprised” by the move given “people are worried and upset and we are easy targets”.
The nurse also said they had been advised to hide their ID badges and only show them to NHS staff or patients.
Staff at London’s University College Hospital have also been warned after two doctors were mugged near the grounds, The Times reports.
Like in Australia, UK supermarkets have introduced shopping hours specifically for healthcare workers and the vulnerable, meaning a staff ID could be stolen and used for preferential treatment.
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NSW HEALTH WORKERS SPAT, COUGHED ON
Abuse directed towards health workers hasn’t been restricted to the UK with reports last week of medical staff being targeted in Australia.
NSW Police are appealing for help in identifying an elderly woman who deliberately coughed and then punched a nurse in an incident last Tuesday.
A 25-year-old nurse was ordering takeaway at a fish and chip shop in Blackheath when an elderly woman walked in.
Police have been told the woman, believed to be aged in her 70s, began deliberately coughing in the direction of the nurse, who had just finished her shift at an aged care home.
When the nurse tried to leave the shop she was again confronted by the woman, who verbally abused her before punching her twice in the face, police said.
The nurse managed to get out of the store and report the attack to police.
Meanwhile, in a TikTok video last week, a young woman in a NSW health uniform claimed she had been spat on by a patient while working in a coronavirus team.
In the video, she said a patient spat directly in her face, telling her she was going to “get sick anyway”.
“Australians generally have this attitude towards coronavirus where they do not care whether they live or die or kill their grandparents or whatever, which is already super fun to deal with,” the woman said.
“But yesterday I had a patient spit on my face.
“We don’t know whether he’s confirmed or not — we haven’t got the swabs back yet, but he’s been tested — and he spat on my face.”
An Italian nurse treating patients on a coronavirus ward went viral recently after sharing a raw snap that shows the reality of fighting the coronavirus.
Taking to Instagram, Alessia Bonari posted a snap showing bruising around her eyes, nose and forehead which she claims was caused by having to wear ill-fitting protective gear
In the caption, Ms Bonari said while she was often “afraid”, constantly tired and under enormous pressure, looking after people infected with the virus remained her top priority.
“I’m afraid to go to work. I’m afraid because the mask may not adhere to my face, or I may have accidentally touched myself with dirty gloves,” she said in her message.
“I am physically tired because the protective devices are bad, the lab coat makes me sweat and once dressed I can no longer go to the bathroom or drink for six hours.
“I am psychologically tired, as are my colleagues, who have been in the same condition for weeks.
“But this won’t prevent us from doing our job as we’ve always done. I will continue to take care of my patients because I am proud and I love my job.”
Last week Victorian Health Minister Jenny Mikakos called for retired nurses and healthcare workers to return to work and help fight the coronavirus pandemic.
So far more than 100 nurses had rejoined the workforce and were taking refresher courses, 9 News reported.