Coronavirus: Leeds nurse's virus death prompts 'deliver PPE' call

Josie EkoliImage source, PA Media/Family handout
Image caption,
Mother of five Josiane Ekoli was a nurse at Harrogate District Hospital

The government "must come through on its promise" to deliver enough PPE for front-line staff after a nurse from Leeds died, an MP has said.

Josiane Ekoli, 55, had tested positive for coronavirus and died on Monday.

She had worked on a ward with Covid-19 patients and had said the provision of personal protective equipment (PPE) was poor, according to her daughter Naomi.

Labour MP Fabian Hamilton, for Leeds North East, said front-line staff should not be risking their lives.

He added: "There's a mismatch between the pronouncements we hear from 10 Downing Street and the reality on the front line for people like Josie."

Mr Hamilton said the issue could only be resolved by "listening to those working on the front line in hospitals and care homes across the country".

He added: "How many more of our wonderful staff like her need to be infected or tragically to die the way she has before this issue is resolved."

The Department for Health and Social Care said since the start of the outbreak it had delivered more than 923 million pieces of PPE to the front line.

A spokesperson added: "We are working around the clock to give the NHS and the wider social care sector the equipment and support they need to tackle this global outbreak."

Ms Ekoli, a mother of five, worked as an agency nurse at Harrogate District Hospital.

She was admitted to Leeds General Infirmary, a hospital where she used to work, last Tuesday, having been ill for around a week.

Her daughter said she had worked in nursing for more than 30 years and described her as "strong, beautiful and caring".

Jill Foster, chief nurse at Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust, said Ms Ekoli was a "much-valued" member of staff.

A spokesperson said the pandemic had presented significant challenges including the increased use of PPE.

"We have implemented the national guidance as published by Public Health England," they said.

"This is very clear about what PPE should be used in which situation to protect our staff.

"We have enough PPE in stock, and are getting regular deliveries of new items. It is a challenge and we're doing all we can to maintain provision. "

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