As we clap key workers: demand PPE, testing and a pay rise


We will proudly clap our health, care and key workers today at 8.00pm along with millions of other people.

These workers need more than just a clap and a cheer; they also need Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), mass testing and a serious pay rise. Over 1200 workers called on Welsh Government to provide these in a letter last month.

This is why we are calling on people to raise these demands this evening – and every time – when they clap and cheer with the rest of their community. This can be done by either chanting a slogan such as ‘PPE, a pay rise and testing now’ or by holding up homemade placards.

Almost every day sees more Coronavirus deaths of health care workers. This must stop.

Yesterday, Mary Agyeiwaa Agyapong, a 28 year old Nurse from London who was heavily pregnant died after contracting the virus.

In Wales in the last 7 days there have been at least 3 Covid related deaths of NHS workers:

Leilani Medel, a 41 year old Phillipino nurse, who worked at Princess of Wales Hospital Bridgend.

Gareth Roberts, a nurse at Heath Hospital Cardiff, who had been working with critically ill Covid patients.

Donna Campbell, a 54 year old health worker at the Velindre cancer hospital in Whitchurch.

On Saturday, the biggest health union, Unison, wrote to First Minister Mark Drakeford demanding urgent action over the provision of PPE and said lack of protection was killing health workers. Now care homes have come into the frontline of this health emergency, with thousands of unreported deaths and low paid workers forced to deal with incredibly traumatic situations. This is intolerable.

The blame for lack of testing and PPE lies with the UK government and Welsh Government, who have failed to challenge Boris Johnson or take a different course.

When England’s Health Secretary Matt Hancock said health workers were ‘overusing’ PPE, he was trying to deflect blame from his own failings on to the very people whose lives are being risked. We do not clap with him, but with the workers his government has failed.

It is vital to not only clap and cheer, but show real solidarity with these workers. They care for us, keep us fed and deliver essential goods and services. They need protection, testing, and a proper pay rise now.

(Main image: Steve Eason)

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An urgent appeal to the Welsh Government from NHS Wales workers

Llythyr yn Gymraeg

We are healthcare workers currently battling against the coronavirus pandemic. This is an unprecedented human crisis which is placing a huge strain on the Welsh NHS and all frontline staff. We are prepared to give our all to save lives, but at the moment, the UK Government is doing nowhere near enough to prevent the spread of the virus nor manage the pressure on the NHS.

Frontline workers are not currently being systematically tested for the virus, meaning we have no way of knowing who to isolate in order to stop it spreading, including within hospitals. The lack of testing runs contrary to World Health Organisation guidelines and is a fundamental obstacle if we want to contain the virus and ensure the highest possible provision for patients and staff.

We welcome the announcement by the Welsh Government to roll out the testing of healthcare professionals. However, this is just the first step that now needs to be rapidly implemented and then massively expanded upon: we cannot afford any complacency, and our fight against this virus must be relentless.

In addition, we are not currently being provided with proper personal protective equipment (PPE) to stop us being infected while we are working. The more doctors that get sick and have to isolate, the longer it is going to take to control the spread of this virus.

We call on the Welsh Government to take the initiative and immediately implement the following urgent steps to support frontline workers in the NHS and beyond:

  • Institute mass testing and tracing of all NHS workers and their families, as well as staff such as care workers working in other frontline services with vulnerable groups.
  • Urgently supply adequate PPE for all NHS staff and others working with suspected cases, from doctors to carers and porters.
  • Introduce routine testing of all current and new inpatients.
  • Create an agreed, standardised admission route for assessment and testing of anyone presenting with respiratory/COVID-19 symptoms at all frontline medical services and specialisms, not just GPs and A&E (i.e., mental health services, paediatrics, radiography, etc).
  • Institute an immediate ban on all non-essential hospital visiting.
  • Ensure that NHS staff are being advised on safe working and are able to take adequate rest periods to avoid burnout.
  • Immediately suspend hospital accommodation fees for staff.

We also have a dangerous shortage of Intensive Care Unit beds in Wales, as well as a lack of the ventilators that we need to treat the sick. As the crisis intensifies, the current shortages will become untenable for staff, patients and the NHS itself. We therefore also call on the Welsh Government to:

  • Immediately requisition all private healthcare and other healthcare facilities so they may be used to treat the sick (as the Spanish Government have recently done).
  • Urgently order and/or manufacture new ventilators on an industrial scale.
  • Draft healthcare workers with ICU experience into hospitals.
  • Produce an urgent strategy for staff recruitment and rapid training, passing emergency legislation if needed.

Going forward, the Welsh Government needs to work collaboratively with frontline staff if we are to defeat the virus and emerge from the crisis.

If these demands require immediate additional funding from the UK government, we will support you in fighting for it. Silence is no longer an option.

Yn ddiffuant,

List of names


Do you work in health in Wales? Sign the letter.

If you don’t work in health but would like to leave a message of support or solidarity with this campaign then please leave a comment.