NHS Staff Inadequate PPE Equipment Compensation Claims
During the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic there has been a lot of coverage in the press about the availability of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for medical staff. As part of an employer’s duty of care towards staff safety, PPE is often provided to reduce risks in the workplace. In terms of coronavirus, PPE can be lifesaving. This guide is about NHS staff PPE equipment related claims. We’ll look at the types of PPE you might expect to be provided with, when you might be eligible to claim compensation and how much you might receive.
Accident Claims UK specialises in helping people with personal injury claims. Our advisors offer a no-obligation assessment of any claim and also provide free legal advice about the claims process. If your claim appears to have merit, we could introduce you to a personal injury solicitor. If they’re in agreement, your case will be handled on a No Win No Fee basis. To begin your claim right away, please call us on 0800 073 8801 today.
Alternatively, to find out more about NHS staff PPE equipment related claims before calling our specialists, please continue reading.
Select A Section
- A Guide On Claims For Inadequate NHS PPE
- What Is PPE For NHS Staff And Workers?
- Guidance On The Wearing Provision And Wearing Of PPE By NHS Staff
- Guidance On Controlling Infections In NHS Settings
- Guidelines On When NHS Staff Should Wear PPE
- Guidance For NHS Staff On Using PPE
- I Was Not Issued With PPE And Contracted Covid-19 Due To A Shortage, Could I Claim?
- Deaths Of NHS Staff Treating Coronavirus Patients
- Calculating Compensation For NHS Staff PPE Related Claims
- Other Ways In Which You May Be Compensated
- No Win No Fee Claims By NHS Staff For Illness Caused By Inadequate PPE
- Contact Us About Your Claim
- NHS Claims Resources
A Guide On Claims For Inadequate NHS PPE
All employers have a duty of care to ensure staff safety wherever possible. The legislation that introduces the duty of care is the Health and Safety at Work Act etc. 1974. In any workplace, employers should risk assess working procedures and then take steps to reduce any dangers identified. This could mean changing procedures, replacing equipment, installing handrails or providing personal protective equipment. PPE is used in many different scenarios as a method of reducing risk. It could be used in industries using dangerous chemicals, by builders to protect them from falling objects or by health workers to prevent the spread of disease.
Even though the coronavirus pandemic has spread rapidly, the NHS still has a duty of care towards its staff. That means you could be entitled to claim compensation if you can prove:
- You have had a confirmed case of coronavirus (not just symptoms).
- That you caught it while at work.
- And you caught it because of a lack of suitable PPE or any other form of negligence by your employer.
Making a personal injury claim against an employer can sometimes be tricky and complex. That’s why we’d always advise having a specialist personal injury lawyer on your side. They can help you prove what happened, how you suffered and who was to blame. We’d advise you to make contact as soon as possible, though. That’s because there is a personal injury claims time limit of 3-years in the UK. In normal circumstances, the time will begin from the date your illness was diagnosed.
When you’ve finished reading our guide, if you’d like us to answer any further questions, or you’d like to begin a claim, please get in touch with an advisor using the number at the top of the screen.
What Is PPE For NHS Staff And Workers?
According to the NHS, coronavirus can be transmitted in two ways:
This can be any object which has been contaminated with organisms containing COVID-19. Those organisms could then be transmitted to any person who comes into contact with the fomite.
Respiratory droplets, which contain infectious pathogens, can travel from one person to another, usually over short distances, when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks.
The job of PPE is to prevent the transmission of the virus. If a medical worker encounters an infected patient, the PPE should act as a barrier to prevent the transmission. Different PPE is used in different scenarios but used correctly, it can reduce risks to staff. Therefore, if you’ve been asked to work without appropriate PPE, you could be putting yourself in danger. Furthermore, if you have contracted coronavirus because of an NHS PPE shortage, you could be entitled to claim compensation. If you believe that’s the case, we could help you claim. Please contact a specialist advisor on the number at the top of the screen to begin.
Guidance On The Wearing Provision And Wearing Of PPE By NHS Staff
The advice provided to NHS employers said that the latest PPE guidance (2nd April 2020) was updated to include:
- Recommendations about PPE use in different health and care settings.
- Risk assessments should be used to determine when PPE is used.
- A recommendation that patients should wear a type IIR fluid-resistant surgical mask if they’re able to.
Also, the advice explained that regulations require that PPE is:
- Maintained and stored correctly.
- Used correctly by staff.
- Provided with clear instructions on how to use it correctly.
- Assessed to ensure it is fit for purpose.
What PPE Should Be Issued And Worn?
Personal protective equipment comes in different levels. The type required will vary for different scenarios. According to NHS PPE guidance from one NHS trust, here is some information on PPE levels:
Level 1 PPE
- A single pair of gloves.
- Eye protection where there’s a risk of a patient coughing or sneezing.
- A fluid repellent surgical face mask.
- A disposable plastic apron.
Level 2 PPE
- A long-sleeved fluid repellent gown.
- Double pair of gloves. The bottom pair should overlap sleeves and the top pair changed between patients.
- An eye protection visor.
- An FFP3 mask (respirator).
The advice goes on to say that level 1 PPE should be worn for all encounters with patients (within 2 meters). In wards with COVID-19 patients, a fluid repellent mask should be worn as soon as you’re on the ward and gloves, eye protection and aprons worn when within 2 meters of a patient. Level 2 PPE should be worn for all aerosol-generating procedures such as intubation, extubation and surgery. That’s the case whether the patient is thought to be infected or not. PPE for primary care and PPE for secondary care will depend entirely on the nature of the treatment being provided.
Guidance On Controlling Infections In NHS Settings
The NHS has provided some advice on how to prevent the spread of coronavirus after a patient has been assessed. Immediately after the patient has left the room, the door should be shut, windows opened, and any air conditioning switched off. The room mustn’t be used again until it’s been cleaned with disinfectant and detergent.
The cleaning process involves bagging all items used to treat the patient as clinical waste. The room is to be cleaned with cloths, paper roll and mop heads which are all to be disposed of as single-use items once cleaning is complete.
Guidelines On When NHS Staff Should Wear PPE
We discussed advice provided in an NHS PPE guide released by one NHS trust earlier. The same guide provides further information on when to wear PPE. Some of the advice provided includes:
- There is no need to wear PPE if you’re not with a patient.
- Disposable PPE should be put into clinical waste containers and not general waste.
- An FFP3 respirator should be worn at all times in the intensive care unit (ICU).
- Public Health England PPE specifications do not currently recommend the use of an FFP2 mask.
If you’re unsure what PPE you should be wearing, or how to use it correctly, you should discuss your concerns with your supervisor or manager.
Guidance For NHS Staff On Using PPE
There have been some NHS PPE standards released for all health care workers. The advice provided includes:
- Training should be provided on the donning and doffing of PPE.
- PPE should be available for staff that’s appropriate for the setting they’re working in.
- Staff should understand what PPE they require depending on the setting they’re working in.
- Aprons and gloves are single-use and must be disposed of as clinical waste after treating each patient.
- Surgical masks and eye protection can be worn for a whole session of work.
- Coveralls or gowns are also to be worn for a whole session of work, including in higher risk areas.
- Hand washing should be practised after removal of PPE.
- Regular breaks and rest breaks should be taken by all staff.
I Was Not Issued With PPE And Contracted Covid-19 Due To A Shortage, Could I Claim?
If you have been asked to work in an environment where NHS advice suggests PPE should be worn, but you’ve been unable to do so, then it might be possible to claim compensation. That could be the case if, as mentioned earlier, you can prove:
- You contracted coronavirus while at work.
- It was caused by a lack of personal protective equipment.
Proving both of these can be a tricky and complex task. Our specialist solicitors have years of experience handling all sorts of personal injury claims. They know what evidence is required, and what’s not, to help prove that your employer’s negligence caused you to suffer.
To help, you could provide evidence that supports your claim. This could include:
- Correspondence to your manager which shows your concerns about any PPE shortages.
- Details of any colleagues who can confirm there was a lack of PPE.
- Medical records that confirm you contracted COVID-19.
There are many different scenarios which could entitle you to claim compensation, including those not listed in this guide. Therefore, if you’d like any further advice on evidence that you could provide, or whether you’re eligible to claim, please speak with a specialist advisor today.
Deaths Of NHS Staff Treating Coronavirus Patients
The number of deaths in hospitals caused by COVID-19 has been well documented and figures have been released daily by the government during the pandemic. However, the figures don’t reveal how many medical professionals have died or if they contracted the infection because of a lack of PPE.
There has been one case where a 53-year old consultant urologist has unfortunately died after previously appealing for “appropriate PPE and remedies” to “protect ourselves and our families”. Consultant urologist Abdul Mabud Chowdhury died in Romford’s Queen’s Hospital in April 2020.
The news article that told of the tragic event said that the urologist had been in pain when he appealed to the government in a post on Facebook.
The chairman of the British Medical Association, Dr Chaand Nagpaul, said that it was “so tragic” that the consultant had died after warning about the lack of personal protective equipment.
Previously, the Department of Health and Social Care had said that it was “working closely with industries, the NHS, social care providers and the Army”. They also advised that a hotline had been put in place if staff needed to order more PPE.
Calculating Compensation For NHS Staff PPE Related Claims
Now that we’ve discussed when NHS staff PPE equipment related claims could be possible, we’re going to look at what compensation might be paid. It’s very difficult to provide an accurate estimate within this guide as every person is affected differently. Therefore, for a more personalised compensation estimate, please speak to an advisor.
Rather than provide a personal injury claims calculator which can be quite complex, we’ve provided the table below. It contains examples of relevant injuries and what compensation could be paid. The figures are from the Judicial College Guidelines which is a document used by solicitors, insurers and the courts to help determine compensation payments.
Injury Type Compensation Range Details
Lung £29,380 to £65,710 This category covers diseases that cause significant and worsening lung fucntion. They will also cause impaired breathing, prolonged coughing and sleep disturbance. The ability to work and physical activity will also be affected.
Lung £19,510 to £29,380 This category covers symptoms such as wheezing and Bronchitis which are not serious but there could be varying levels of anxiousness about the future.
Lung £9,990 to £19,510 This category covers symptoms such as slight breathlessness. Normal recovery time will be around 2 years but there will be no impact on the ability to work.
Lung £2,070 to £5,000 This category covers chest problems that are temporary and where full recovery takes around 2 months.
As each injury is compensated based on its severity, your solicitor has an important role to play. They need to provide enough evidence to help show the true extent of your suffering. If they fail to do so, you may not receive the compensation you’re entitled to. As part of the claims process, our solicitors will arrange for you to be assessed by a local medical specialist. They’ll ask you some questions, review your medical records and assess you. Then they’ll provide a report for your solicitor which will explain what injuries or illnesses you sustained, how they affected you and if you’re likely to suffer any ongoing symptoms.
Other Ways In Which You May Be Compensated
When making NHS staff PPE equipment related claims, your solicitor can ask for general damages as well as special damages. The table in the previous section provides examples of general damages which are designed to compensate you for pain, suffering and loss of amenity caused as a result of your injuries.
Special damages are used to try and make sure you’re not worse off, financially, as a result of your injuries. There are a number of different expenses you could claim as special damages including:
- Medical Expenses.
If you have to pay for prescription or over the counter medicines while you’re recovering, you could include the costs within your claim.
- Travelling Costs.
While recovering from any illness, it’s possible that you’ll need to make multiple trips to a doctor’s surgery, hospital or pharmacy. Therefore, you could ask for any travel, fuel or parking costs to be paid as part of your claim.
- Care Costs.
Should you need the support of a friend, family member or professional carer while you are ill, you could claim back any associated costs. For instance, you could claim for a professional carer’s fee. Alternatively, an hourly rate could be calculated to cover the time of a friend who supported you.
- Lost Income.
If you lose any income as a result of your illness, you could ask for the loss to be paid back. Furthermore, if there are any long-term symptoms which affect your ability to work, you could also include future lost income within your claim.
When claiming for special damages, it’s helpful if you can retain receipts, bank statements and wage slips to prove your losses. Also, check with your solicitor before committing to any expense if you’re worried it can’t be claimed back.
No Win No Fee Claims By NHS Staff For Illness Caused By Inadequate PPE
We understand that many people will worry about the cost of making NHS staff PPE equipment related claims. That’s why our solicitors work on a No Win No Fee basis. By doing so, they give people the confidence to pursue the compensation they might be entitled to as the financial risk and stress levels are reduced.
Your solicitor will begin by assessing the merits of your claim. If they believe it’s viable, they’ll provide you with a No Win No Fee agreement to sign. This is also known as a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA) and it’s a contract between you and your solicitor.
The CFA will include statements to confirm that:
- There are no upfront fees to pay.
- You won’t have to pay any fees during the claim.
- If the case is lost, you won’t need to pay the solicitor’s fees.
Also, if the claim is won, the CFA will explain that your solicitor could ask for a small contribution to their costs. This is known as a success fee which is a percentage of your compensation that’s deducted before you are paid. Don’t worry though, because success fees are legally capped, and you’ll know what percentage you’ll pay right from the start of your case.
To find out if you could claim on a No Win No Fee basis, please contact an advisor today.
Contact Us About Your Claim
If you’ve read this guide about NHS staff PPE equipment related claims and decided you’d like to discuss your case with us, here are the best ways of contacting us:
- Telephone: Call our team for free legal advice and information about claiming on 0800 073 8801.
- Email: Send details of your claim to a member of our team on email@example.com.
- Live Chat: Connect with an online advisor using our live chat facility.
- Call Back: If you’d like us to give you a call at a convenient time, please complete this online claims form.
You can begin a claim whenever it’s convenient as our claims line is open 7-days a week, 24-hours a day. For all claims, we’ll begin by listening to what happened, how you suffered and who you blame. Then we’ll review any evidence you’re able to supply. If your claim could be successful, we could introduce you to a personal injury solicitor. If they take your claim on, it’ll be on a No Win No Fee basis.
NHS & Claims Resources
Thanks for reading this guide about NHS staff PPE equipment related claims. We hope you’ve found the information useful. To assist you further, we’ve provided some links below to some more of our guides and some external publications too.
Medical Negligence Claims – Information on the types of medical negligence which could lead to a compensation claim.
Accident At Work Claims – A guide about making a claim for injuries sustained during an accident at work.
MRSA Claims – This guide looks at when you could claim compensation after being made ill because you contracted MRSA in a hospital.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information – The NHS page with the latest information on coronavirus related matters.
Coronavirus FAQs – A set of frequently asked questions regarding coronavirus which have been answered on the gov.uk website.
Public Health England – The executive agency of government who have a role to improve the nation’s health and well being.
If there’s any more information that we’re able to provide, please feel free to ask.
Guide by BH
Edited by REB