Coronavirus: Home support workers promised PPE, face masks, gloves

Health officials have promised to ensure home support workers have access to face masks. 

It comes after those caring for our most vulnerable sounded the alarm about not having adequate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). 

Minimal protective gear is not just concerning our health workers, but the people they treat.

Rosie Gee has found productive things to do during lockdown, like keeping the garden looking nice and donating blood. 

"I think we should all give blood - especially now that we have the time," she told Newshub. 

But when she went for her appointment on Friday, she was concerned about the lack of PPE. 

New Zealand Blood Service says centres are safe places to visit, and they're taking all necessary steps to ensure they stay that way - including robust hygiene and safe distancing. 

Gee works as a clinical support worker, and while she's been supplied with enough protective gear to do her job, many others haven't.  

One home support worker - who we'll call Jan - says her employer isn't supplying masks or other PPE.

Jan says most of her clients are elderly and she has to break the two-metre distancing to do things like help them shower. 

The official Ministry of Health advice says even those providing care that may involve exposure to blood or other bodily fluids don't need masks - just good hand hygiene, gloves and aprons.

But the ministry is listening to concerns, and says PPE is now on the way.

It seems a no-brainer to ensure those with closest access to our most vulnerable have the right kit, and the health boss agrees.

But distribution has been the problem, so now it's just a matter of getting it where it needs to go - and fast.