| 15.8°C Belfast

Coronavirus: Medics making wills after PPE shortage concerns, says leading Belfast solicitor

Close

There are concerns over supplies of PPE.

There are concerns over supplies of PPE.

There are concerns over supplies of PPE.

Medics who are "scared" over a lack of Personal Protective Equipment are coming forward to make their wills, a leading Belfast solicitor has said.

Ciaran Moynagh of Phoenix Law said three medics had recently approached him to make wills following the uncertainty.

It comes after the Finance Minister Conor Murphy had to backtrack on a pledge that Stormont had placed a joint order for PPE with Dublin.

"I don't want to alarm people, but the medics are very practical people and they're getting their affairs in order," Mr Moynagh told the Belfast Telegraph. "I think there's a lot of people that want to know that while there are current stocks of PPE, will the stocks sustain or will the level of PPE actually improve?

"You have different tiers of people who may not work on a respiratory ward but are being redeployed there. Will they get a higher level of PPE than they currently have?"

Close

Solicitor: Ciaran Moynagh

Solicitor: Ciaran Moynagh

Solicitor: Ciaran Moynagh

He described the medical staff he had spoken to as "apprehensive" over the current pressures.

"These people may have specialisms but are now being asked to take up the slack," he said.

"They want to do their best but essentially they're going into the unknown but that is concerning for them and their families."

On a surge in demand from families making wills, he said: "I think when you have times like this, when normal life stops or slows down, people have an opportunity to reflect and think.

"With the constant news headlines of ever increasing numbers of deaths, people do start thinking 'what about me and my affairs?'

"Wills are something that give people a bit of reassurance and offer certainty in uncertain times.

"It's always best to have your affairs in order when it doesn't matter. The worst thing is doing a will when there's a real risk."

Meanwhile, nurses in Northern Ireland warned they would not legally be allowed to treat patients with coronavirus without the proper PPE.

Close

(PA Graphics)

(PA Graphics)

Press Association Images

(PA Graphics)

Pat Cullen, director of the Royal College of Nursing NI told the BBC: "By not having the required PPE in line with the guidance, it will absolutely cause unnecessary harm to a patient should nurses not have the appropriate PPE. There is no argument here, if nurses don't have the PPE they will not be in a position to treat those patients."

She added the number of calls she was receiving from concerned nurses was "heartbreaking".

"They (nurses) are asking me for reassurance that they won't be put in that situation," she said.

"That is the position we are in. I am not pointing the finger here at anyone. It would do good for some people to come and listen to those calls that we receive from people on the front line and hear their fears, their anxieties and their concerns."

Ms Cullen said there is currently a supply of PPE for nurses, but the concern was that it would run out during a predicted surge next week.

She said nurses needed to know they had the right level of PPE for every single shift they do.

Without this she said: "They would be putting their patients at risk and they would be putting themselves at risk and ultimately then those people in the community that they would come in contact with."

Belfast Telegraph