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Nurses spat at and called ‘disease spreaders’ amid coronavirus crisis

Author: James Hockaday
Publication: Metro.co.uk
Date:  March 21, 2020
URL:      https://metro.co.uk/2020/03/21/nurses-spat-called-disease-spreaders-amid-coronavirus-crisis-12436908/

Hard working nurses battling Britain’s coronavirus outbreak are being abused in the streets simply for doing their job.

Some have reported being spat at while others say they’ve been branded ‘disease spreaders’ for treating patients with the deadly airborne disease, according to the Royal College of Nursing.

The trade union’s director of policy Susan Masters says several NHS staff had reported incidents on confidential forms and called for such ‘abhorrent behaviour’ to stop. She added: ‘Nurses are running towards the fire to provide the care the communities need’.

She told the Independent: ‘They are going in to see patients and caring for them when everyone else is keeping their distance. The public need to understand that nurses are socially critical and right now society needs us more than ever.’

England’s Chief Nurse Ruth May has also said she has heard similar reports of staff being spat at.

Sharing a video on Facebook last week nurse Reizel Angela said she was coming out of the train station on the way to work when a couple physically and verbally abused her because of her race.

The man elbowed her in the rib to push her to the side while his partner said: ‘at least we are whites you f***ing c**ts.’

She said: ‘I appreciate that there’s a lot of hate going around due to coronavirus but this virus is not an excuse to be racist or discriminate against anyone, it’s not.

‘Coronavirus will go away it will go away but discrimination will have its permanent impact.

‘I’m trying to do my job, coming into work feeling absolutely mentally shattered just because I’ve had that experience it’s absolutely disgusting. I feel like this virus is really testing humanity.’

Medics are calling for members of the public to show support for ‘socially critical’ doctors and nurses who are needed more than ever in such an unprecedented time for the country.

More than 65,000 retired NHS staff in England and Wales have been sent letters asking them to return to work to help fight the spread of Covid-19.

Maria Caulfield, the Conservative MP for Lewes and a former nurse, tweeted: ‘I will be returning to the front line in the NHS to support the fight against the coronavirus, important we all help where we can.’

In a show of support for overworked staff, NHS England national medical director Stephen Powis said ‘selfish’ coronavirus panic buyers should be ‘ashamed’ of themselves.

Speaking at today’s Downing Street press conference he said: ‘It’s incredibly important that they too have access to food, to those essential supplies that they need.

‘I’m sure many of you will have seen a video posted on social media yesterday by Dawn, a critical care nurse who was in tears at the end of a long shift because she could not get access to the supplies that she needed.

‘Frankly, we should all be ashamed that that has to happen. It’s unacceptable. These are the people that we all need to look after us and our loved ones in the weeks ahead.’


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