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A third of UK doctors have treated COVID-19 patients without full PPE, report finds

A new report has found that more than a third of UK doctors have treated COVID-19 patients in person without sufficient personal protective equipment (PPE) during the pandemic.

The report from Medscape found that the UK ranked fifth out of eight countries surveyed in the provision of PPE, falling behind Portugal, the US, Brazil and Germany.

In addition, one in ten British doctors surveyed in the report said they often treated COVID-19 patients without ‘sufficient’ PPE. The UK had the second highest rate of infections among doctors (19%), ranking behind Spain and ahead of Brazil and France.

The findings come from Medscape’s US and International Physicians COVID-19 Experience Report, which features responses from over 7,000 doctors worldwide on their experiences working during the COVID-19 pandemic.

On top of the findings regarding clinical practice, the report also highlights the impact of COVID-19 on the physical and mental health of doctors. One in five UK-based doctors reported drinking more alcohol, while a quarter said they have been eating more since the beginning of the pandemic.

Nearly four out of ten (39%) of doctors reported that stay at home and social distancing guidelines made home relationships more stressed, with 42% of doctors in the UK reporting greater loneliness.

Across all countries surveyed in the report, doctors reported that their relationships have become more stressed, although the UK ranked the highest in workplaces offering activities to help with grief and stress.

“Medscape’s report reveals the stark reality of what it means to be a physician during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Leslie Kane, Senior Director of Medscape Business of Medicine.

“Not only in terms of the risks medical professionals face in the workplace, but also the impact on their emotional wellbeing and their personal lives in general.

“Doctors across the world have been under a huge amount of stress and it’s important we continue to listen and improve the support offered, as the world continues to battle this deadly virus,” she added.