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She’s safe… thanks to Mail’s £1million airlift

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Standing delightedly in her new coveralls, nurse Vicky Burns voiced the sentiments of all her colleagues yesterday, declaring: ‘Can we just say a big thank you.’      

Within 24 hours of touching down on UK soil, a 20-ton planeload of personal protective equipment was on its way to the NHS front line yesterday, courtesy of Mail Force, the new charity dedicated to the battle against the virus.

And Miss Burns’s hospital was the first to receive some of the precious cargo of 50,000 coveralls and 100,000 masks which have now been added to the NHS war chest by Mail Force and its growing army of supporters.

On a morning of several important deliveries, the Prime Minister’s fiancée, Carrie Symonds, gave birth to a son at one hospital (in London), while our fleet of vans and trucks brought these urgently-needed PPE supplies from a Heathrow clearance warehouse to the main NHS distribution centre in the south Midlands for inspection and onward distribution.

Pictured: Vicky Burns, 31, tries on a coverall suit at Milton Keynes Hospital after the first PPE shipment arrived from China

Pictured: Vicky Burns, 31, tries on a coverall suit at Milton Keynes Hospital after the first PPE shipment arrived from China

Pictured: Vicky Burns, 31, tries on a coverall suit at Milton Keynes Hospital after the first PPE shipment arrived from China

The £1million cargo of PPE had filled every available space in the hold and cabin of the chartered long-haul airliner which flew in from Shanghai on Tuesday. By yesterday afternoon, the first consignments were on their way in to the field – to a hospital and an ambulance trust – while plans were drawn up for yet more Mail Force airlifts in the days and weeks ahead.

At the same time, support for the Mail Force campaign was gathering spectacular momentum. Created by the Daily Mail and its partners, Salesforce and Marshall Wace, the charity has been set up specifically to tackle the shortage of PPE equipment in this Covid-19 emergency.

HERE’S HOW TO DONATE 

Mail Force Charity has been launched with one aim to help support NHS staff, volunteers and care workers fight back against Covid-1 in the UK.

Mail Force is a separate charity established and supported by the Daily Mail and General Trust. The money raised will fund essential equipment required by the NHS and care workers. 

This equipment is vital in protecting the heroic staff whilst they perform their fantastic work in helping the UK overcome this pandemic.

If we raise more money than is needed for vital Covid-1 equipment, we will apply all funds to support the work of the NHS in other ways.

Click the button below to make a donation:

DONATE NOW

If the button is not visible, click here 

The Mail’s famously generous readers instantly lent their support yesterday, contributing more than £150,000 by mid-afternoon, by which time two of Britain’s leading philanthropists had come on board in style. 

Tetra Pak heir Hans Rausing and his wife, the art expert, Julia Rausing, donated £1million as a final tranche of a £16.5million package of emergency contributions towards fighting the coronavirus.

‘Over the past month, doctors and nurses have put themselves as risk to battle the coronavirus for the nation,’ said Mr and Mrs Rausing. 

‘We hope this new initiative is another way of showing NHS staff our appreciation for them and the difficult work they are doing every single day.’

Contributions from private benefactors and our partners of £2.79million, alongside our readers’ donations of £160,000, have now raised £2.95million for the campaign.

The sentiment was echoed across Westminster yesterday as senior Government ministers, including the new dad in No10, voiced support for Mail Force. 

At yesterday’s Downing Street press briefing, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab praised a ‘fantastic’ initiative by the charity.

He said: ‘100,000 masks, 50,000 coveralls all going to frontline workers in the NHS and care homes. You have got to pay tribute. The Daily Mail has contributed to that national effort and it all counts. So a huge thanks from the Government’s side.’ 

Delivered: Nurses Vicky Burns (left) and Katherine Palmacci wheel in the newly delivered PPE kit at Milton Keynes hospital

Delivered: Nurses Vicky Burns (left) and Katherine Palmacci wheel in the newly delivered PPE kit at Milton Keynes hospital

Delivered: Nurses Vicky Burns (left) and Katherine Palmacci wheel in the newly delivered PPE kit at Milton Keynes hospital

The full kit: Nurse Miss Burns clad head to foot in the new PPE after it arrived at Milton Keynes Hospital

The full kit: Nurse Miss Burns clad head to foot in the new PPE after it arrived at Milton Keynes Hospital

The full kit: Nurse Miss Burns clad head to foot in the new PPE after it arrived at Milton Keynes Hospital 

The whole purpose of this fast and furious quest for essential supplies, of course, is to make life safer for those putting their lives on the line for the rest of us. As many were keen to point out, it also reduces the general level of anxiety.

Among the first in line for a consignment was Milton Keynes University Hospital. ‘I did read about this plane coming in full of PPE – and here it is,’ said safeguarding specialist nurse, Katherine Palmacci. ‘We are really grateful to everyone for their generosity and let me assure you that it will be put to good use.’ 

The hospital’s chief executive, Professor Joe Harrison, said: ‘We would like to thank the Daily Mail and their Mail Force campaign for joining all of those that have donated PPE to NHS organisations up and down the country. 

Donations like these, funded by members of the public, help us to continue to meet the challenge of Covid-19. I know NHS staff will be eternally grateful for the contributions the public have made.’

The importance of the Mail Force operation was underlined last night as a survey by the Royal College of Surgeons revealed a third of its members had experienced shortages of gowns or masks in the last two weeks. 

Right on time: The Mail Force van arrives at Milton Keynes University Hospital today with its vital cargo of PPE equiptment

Right on time: The Mail Force van arrives at Milton Keynes University Hospital today with its vital cargo of PPE equiptment

Right on time: The Mail Force van arrives at Milton Keynes University Hospital today with its vital cargo of PPE equiptment

Fit for purpose: Nurses Miss Palmacci and Miss Burns try out a coverall suit at Milton Keynes Hospital after PPE arrived

Fit for purpose: Nurses Miss Palmacci and Miss Burns try out a coverall suit at Milton Keynes Hospital after PPE arrived

Fit for purpose: Nurses Miss Palmacci and Miss Burns try out a coverall suit at Milton Keynes Hospital after PPE arrived

The poll of 1,263 surgeons showed 33 per cent did not believe there was enough PPE in their hospital, with 34 per cent reporting inadequate supplies of gowns and 31 per cent warning of low stocks of masks.

The Government’s procurement teams continue to do what they can in a frantic global race for the best equipment. 

Hard questions will continue to be asked by the press and public alike. But as is increasingly clear from the remarkable response to this campaign – and others too, of course – the British people have decided it is not enough simply to sit in judgment. 

They are determined to do whatever they can to help. 

Paramedics’ delight at ‘comfort’ of Mail Force face masks 

By Sam Greenhill, Chief Reporter for the Daily Mail  

For paramedics, the cruel gamble of catching coronavirus lurks every time they are called out.

And last night, these lifesavers were among the first to receive a consignment of protective equipment direct from Mail Force.

As the masks and coveralls were unloaded at a station of the South Central Ambulance Service, paramedic team leader Lisa Pringle said simply: ‘Thank you.’

Just the job: Paramedic leader Lisa Pringle from the South Central Ambulance Service tries on a new mask

Just the job: Paramedic leader Lisa Pringle from the South Central Ambulance Service tries on a new mask

Just the job: Paramedic leader Lisa Pringle from the South Central Ambulance Service tries on a new mask

This life-saving mission 

How big is the challenge?

Frontline health workers are desperately short of life-saving personal protective equipment and the Mail and our partners are determined to help them.

Led by the Daily Mail, a consortium including Salesforce, the US enterprise software giant and UK asset management company, Marshall Wace, helped create Mail Force.

So what’s Mail Force doing?

Sourcing from around the world the most urgently needed PPE, namely isolation gowns, coveralls, and surgical masks. The charity is checking with the Department of Health’s procurement team to ensure it gets the right equipment and that it doesn’t overlap with their efforts.

How it happened

On behalf of Mail Force, we explored sources of PPE around the world, most notably in China. With help from Salesforce, reputable suppliers were found and Mail Force chartered a jet to bring home as much as possible – £1million worth of stock weighing over 20 tons. This is expected to be the first of many shipments of life-saving equipment.

So why choose China?

Many British firms, including Barbour and Burberry, have produced PPE for the NHS.But UK companies can’t provide all the country needs quickly enough. There’s a shortage of the fluid-resistant material for making gowns and coveralls – and most of the production is in China.

Were the NHS consulted?

From the outset we have tried to support the work of the Department of Health in gathering a huge amount of equipment from a finite global supply in a very short period of time. To that end, Mail Force has consulted the NHS and the Department of Health at every stage.

While the Mail will never retreat from critical analysis and asking the important questions – often to the intense discomfort of the Government – we also recognise that all of us have a part to play in fighting this virus.

However, first to receive the new kit were staff at Milton Keynes University Hospital. 

Among those to start checking it out were 31-year-old lead nurse Vicky Burns, safeguarding nurse for children Katherine Palmarcci, and infection prevention control sister Agnes Whiting.

Back at the ambulance station, Miss Pringle tried on one of the medical masks airlifted in. She said: ‘These will be very helpful and also a great comfort. As professionals, we attend every patient but you never know who may have Covid-19.

‘We have been getting through an awful lot of PPE. We are going out about 120 times a day and we have to wear PPE every time. 

We also have paramedics coming out of retirement to help out during this crisis, and of course they need the protection as well, so we need more PPE than ever.

‘Just to know that it’s there for us, it really does take the worry away from the staff. It helps us so much when we see big quantities like this arriving.’

Paramedics have no choice but to work up close to patients who may have the virus. If a patient has any difficulties breathing, or a cardiac arrest, crews need to work close to the mouth where potentially millions of invisible droplets of the virus could be sprayed over them. In such cases, the head-to-toe coveralls delivered last night are quite literally a lifesaver.

Paramedics wear them in conjunction with full face breathing masks with their own air supply.

Mark Begley, head of operations at the station, in Milton Keynes, said: ‘We are using a lot of PPE. The amount we are getting through is phenomenal.

‘We treat every patient as potentially having Covid – we have to. So to receive this shipment is enormously welcome and we have huge gratitude for it.’

Mr Begley said his ambulance staff were determined to get through the crisis. ‘You can’t help but be proud of them,’ he said. 

‘Everyone has been working tirelessly to get through this, for the patients, for everybody. It is fantastic to see.’

The incredible journey: In an extraordinary series of photographs, how vital PPE when from China to our front line… in just 24 hours 

By Sam Greenhill, Chief Reporter for the Daily Mail

These were the magnificent scenes yesterday as the life-saving Mail Force kit completed its journey to the hands of doctors and nurses.

An incredible 24 hours was topped off with the protective gear reaching the medics who so desperately need it.

From the moment the Mail Force One jet touched down at Heathrow on Tuesday evening, no time was wasted in getting the 20 tons of precious cargo to the right place.

From the airport to the hospitals and everywhere in between, more than a hundred people were involved in making the complex logistical operation a success. 

1. Cargo lands at Heathrow: Chartered Mail Force jet arrives in UK loaded with its life-saving cargo of protective kit

1. Cargo lands at Heathrow: Chartered Mail Force jet arrives in UK loaded with its life-saving cargo of protective kit

1. Cargo lands at Heathrow: Chartered Mail Force jet arrives in UK loaded with its life-saving cargo of protective kit

First the PPE was taken to a customs clearance depot near the airport, where the mountain of boxes of masks and coveralls was a breathtaking sight. The team worked through the night, and by morning the boxes were all aboard our fleet of vehicles ready for the next stage.

All PPE for the NHS has to be taken to a dedicated hub in the Midlands where it is logged, checked and allocated to hospital trusts and care homes.

The fleet was on the road by 8am yesterday, streaking up the M1 to the NHS warehouse, which is the size of three and-a-half football pitches. There, several dozen staff converged on the Mail Force vans and – maintaining social distancing – unloaded the boxes in under 20 minutes.

Another group immediately began logging them into the warehouse computer. Some of the boxes were torn open for samples to be removed. The first glimpse of the precious cargo from Mail Force – a separate charity set up by the Mail and its partners – revealed packet after packet of white coveralls with a thin blue stripe – unflattering, yet each capable of saving the life of a doctor or nurse treating a Covid-19 patient.

2. Take it away, chaps: The PPE is unloaded from the plane, ready to be taken to a nearby depot

2. Take it away, chaps: The PPE is unloaded from the plane, ready to be taken to a nearby depot

2. Take it away, chaps: The PPE is unloaded from the plane, ready to be taken to a nearby depot

3. Mountain of boxes at depot: PPE medical equipment from China, bought for the NHS by The Daily Mail's charity Mail Force, at a warehouse in Feltham

3. Mountain of boxes at depot: PPE medical equipment from China, bought for the NHS by The Daily Mail's charity Mail Force, at a warehouse in Feltham

3. Mountain of boxes at depot: PPE medical equipment from China, bought for the NHS by The Daily Mail’s charity Mail Force, at a warehouse in Feltham

Dozens of other boxes containing medical masks were also loaded on to wooden pallets. The crucial equipment coming in to this vast hub has been made in factories all over the world, sometimes in boxes with nothing but Chinese written on the labels. It all needs to be checked to make sure it complies with British standards.

Terry Murphy, who helps to run the mega warehouse, said: ‘A lot of stuff comes covered in Chinese, with little English if any. We have to make sure we know exactly what we’ve got and that it is good enough. Then we re-label it in English.’

Operations director Martin O’Grady added: ‘You might think PPE is pretty standardised, but it turns out there are actually 130 different types of gown used in the NHS. We’re having to learn fast.’ 

Towering storage units hold more than ten miles of shelving. A computer knows where every item can be found. Every day, there is a conference call with the NHS and Public Health England to decide where the items are most needed.

Little more than a month ago, this facility did not exist. The warehouse held shopping goods and the staff were more accustomed to high street fashion than life- saving equipment.

4. Ready for inspection: The Daily Mail's Arthur Martin with packets of white coveralls inside the warehouse

4. Ready for inspection: The Daily Mail's Arthur Martin with packets of white coveralls inside the warehouse

4. Ready for inspection: The Daily Mail’s Arthur Martin with packets of white coveralls inside the warehouse

5. Then it's into the vans: Boxes are loaded into one of three Mail Force vans yesterday as the PPE left the warehouse

5. Then it's into the vans: Boxes are loaded into one of three Mail Force vans yesterday as the PPE left the warehouse

5. Then it’s into the vans: Boxes are loaded into one of three Mail Force vans yesterday as the PPE left the warehouse

6. ... And away we go to the NHS centre: They set off for an NHS mega-warehouse in the Midlands

6. ... And away we go to the NHS centre: They set off for an NHS mega-warehouse in the Midlands

6. … And away we go to the NHS centre: They set off for an NHS mega-warehouse in the Midlands

‘We got the call on a Sunday evening saying ‘right, we’re going to set this NHS thing up’, and by the Thursday we were up and running,’ said Mr O’Grady. 

‘In the first week, we were just turning the stuff round as fast as possible, getting it out to the hospitals. By week two, we were catching up and able to build up a little stock so that the deliveries could be targeted to where they were most needed.’

Warehouse worker Marlena Dyminska, 35, from Poland, said: ‘We are proud to be doing this – it is so important to get these things to the NHS. It is difficult times for all of us, but I feel that we are sticking together and we will survive.’

Chelsie Faulds, 29, said: ‘It has been fantastic with everything that’s going on to be a part of this – and know that we are supporting so many people. It’s an honour to do this work.’ Mr O’Grady added: ‘Everyone is working their socks off. The wonderful thing is how we have all bonded. We all get that it’s a ‘no-fail’ scenario. The commitment is extraordinary, to a man and a woman.

7. Checked and sorted:  Warehouse worker Chelsie Faulds is glad to be doing her bit

7. Checked and sorted:  Warehouse worker Chelsie Faulds is glad to be doing her bit

7. Checked and sorted:  Warehouse worker Chelsie Faulds is glad to be doing her bit

8. ... While social distancing: Staff unloading boxes of PPE at the mega-hub keep 6ft apart

8. ... While social distancing: Staff unloading boxes of PPE at the mega-hub keep 6ft apart

8. … While social distancing: Staff unloading boxes of PPE at the mega-hub keep 6ft apart

‘It’s seven days a week, long days, and ‘just keep going’ is the mantra. Many of the staff who worked in fashion have got a chance to help the NHS in a moment of national crisis, and probably more than half the team would rather stay on this project than go back to anything else. It has become a mission.

‘I live in Chester and am friends with a neurosurgeon there, an obstetrician and two GPs. We all know people who are on the NHS front line who want and badly need this equipment. That’s what keeps us working so hard. It is personal but also we are doing something for our country.

‘We know we are under massive pressure, literally to deliver. I ask my friends every day, ‘Are you getting the stuff?’ They say the situation is improving. We feel we are in service to the NHS. Our message to our teams every day is we are just in service to the real front line.’

By mid-afternoon yesterday, the first crucial deliveries were under way, with our vans crammed with PPE heading to Milton Keynes in Buckinghamshire. 

Mail Force fund soars to £3million! Magnificent £1m gift from Tetra Pak philanthropists

By Vanessa Allen for the Daily Mail

Billionaire philanthropists Hans and Julia Rausing donated £1million to the new Mail Force charity yesterday.

The couple said they wanted to show their support for the NHS by joining the Daily Mail in backing Mail Force’s drive to supply more personal protective equipment to the frontline.

Their generous gift came as part of a £16.5million donation they have made to more than 50 causes linked to the fight against coronavirus. Mr Rausing, 56, whose Swedish grandfather Ruben founded the food packaging firm Tetra Pak, and his wife Julia, an art expert, said they wanted to help protect NHS frontline doctors and nurses.

Generous: Hans and Julia Rausing are backing many health charities

Generous: Hans and Julia Rausing are backing many health charities

Generous: Hans and Julia Rausing are backing many health charities

Mr and Mrs Rausing said: ‘We are delighted to put our support behind this excellent public/private sector partnership initiative, making sure that the brave men and women on the frontline have the essential equipment that they need to save lives.

‘Over the past month, doctors and nurses have put themselves at risk to battle the coronavirus for the nation. We hope that this new initiative is another way of showing NHS staff our appreciation for them and the difficult work they are doing every single day.’ The Rausing family are believed to have given away at least £1billion of the family fortune through decades of philanthropic donations.

When Mr Rausing’s father, also called Hans, died last summer aged 93, his fortune was estimated at £9.6billion.

The Julia and Hans Rausing Trust has provided some 220 grants totalling more than £200million to organisations in three sectors – health and wellbeing, welfare and education, and arts and culture.

Last month they pledged £16.5million to causes linked to the fight against coronavirus across the UK including local charities at their home in Gloucestershire. The biggest single gift was £5million for the Covid-19 Appeal being run by NHS Charities Together, the national membership organisation for health service charities.

That was to go towards wellbeing packs such as food deliveries, energy snacks, refreshments, wash kits and overnight stay kits for frontline health workers.

It will also cover the cost of travel, parking and accommodation, along with other expenses faced by medics. The Rausings also identified organisations that support NHS workers, including the National Emergency Trust and the Care Workers’ Charity.

Mr and Mrs Rausing, who live in London and Gloucestershire, have been long-term supporters of the NHS. Before the outbreak, they donated £4million towards a new intensive care unit at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital. It opened this month and is already treating patients with coronavirus.

As part of their £16.5million donation, Mr and Mrs Rausing gave £500,000 to volunteer organisation Helpforce, which helps people to volunteer in hospitals and health services.

A further £725,000 was given to charitable food redistributor FareShare, which aims to provide an extra eight million meals to vulnerable people over the next year. It already provides more than a million meals a week.

The couple’s multi-million-pound donation has also gone towards supporting the elderly and vulnerable, including gifts to Hospice UK, the Samaritans and Age UK. Another £500,000 was given to Refuge, to help victims of domestic abuse, following a significant increase in calls to domestic violence helplines during the lockdown. 

 … with £160k from our wonderful readers

By Arthur Martin for the Daily Mail

Generous Daily Mail readers donated more than £160,000 in just 24 hours to help supply the NHS with vital protective gear.

Almost 4,000 of you have pledged money to a separate charity called Mail Force, which is leading a campaign – backed by the Daily Mail – to provide frontline staff with essential safety equipment.

After launching Mail Force in yesterday’s paper and on MailOnline, the charity’s online fundraising page was flooded with donations.

The astonishing response came hours after the charity’s first consignment of personal protective equipment, weighing 20 tons and worth more than £1million, landed at Heathrow Airport on Tuesday evening.

Pictured: The Daily Mail's consignment of PPE medical equipment is pictured in Shanghai as it is loaded aboard a Mail chartered plane

Pictured: The Daily Mail's consignment of PPE medical equipment is pictured in Shanghai as it is loaded aboard a Mail chartered plane

Pictured: The Daily Mail’s consignment of PPE medical equipment is pictured in Shanghai as it is loaded aboard a Mail chartered plane

Contributions from private benefactors and our partners of £2.79million, alongside our readers’ donations of £160,000, have now raised £2.95million for the campaign. This will pay for hundreds of thousands more pieces of PPE to be flown to the UK.

Readers who left messages on the fundraising website described the campaign as a ‘fantastic initiative’ and expressed hope that fresh supplies of equipment will save lives. Summing up the sentiments of many, Bob Miller wrote: ‘Well done for organising such desperately needed aid for our heroes in the NHS.’

The Daily Mail, whose proprietor is Viscount Rothermere, has provided £1million to the campaign. The Rothermere Foundation has given a further £150,000, while the Rothermere/Harmsworth family has donated an additional £100,000. And UK asset management company Marshall Wace has pledged another £1million to the cause.

But because of the unprecedented scale of the crisis, more donations are desperately needed to protect frontline staff fighting the pandemic.

Every donation to Mail Force, no matter how small, will be spent on masks, gowns, and coveralls which NHS and care workers so urgently need. If there is any money left over, the charity will use it to support the NHS and care workers in the best ways it can.

So far, more than 100 NHS workers and carers have died with the virus. They include consultants, nurses, cleaners, porters and care assistants. Dozens of transport workers, including bus drivers, have also died.

Boris leads praise for PPE delivery 

By John Stevens, Larisa Brown and Jason Groves for the Daily Mail 

Praise for Mail Force was universal among senior ministers yesterday. The salutes were led by Prime Minister Boris Johnson as 150,000 masks and coveralls started arriving for frontline workers.

He ‘expressed his thanks’ for the delivery that he said would help ‘our national effort to tackle coronavirus’.

Cabinet ministers also hailed the Daily Mail, which has provided £1million to the Mail Force Charity as it airlifts vital equipment for those working in hospitals across the country.

At the Government’s daily press conference in Downing Street, First Secretary of State Dominic Raab applauded the ‘fantastic Mail Force campaign’. 

Praise for Mail Force was universal among senior ministers yesterday. The salutes were led by Prime Minister Boris Johnson (pictured) as 150,000 masks and coveralls started arriving for frontline workers

Praise for Mail Force was universal among senior ministers yesterday. The salutes were led by Prime Minister Boris Johnson (pictured) as 150,000 masks and coveralls started arriving for frontline workers

Praise for Mail Force was universal among senior ministers yesterday. The salutes were led by Prime Minister Boris Johnson (pictured) as 150,000 masks and coveralls started arriving for frontline workers

He said: ‘100,000 masks, 50,000 coveralls all going to frontline workers in the NHS and care homes. You have got to pay tribute. The Daily Mail has contributed to that national effort and it all counts. So a huge thanks from the Government’s side.’

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: ‘A free and vibrant press is a cherished part of our democracy but this terrific initiative is an example of a newspaper being so much more.

‘The Daily Mail is showing what a positive role the media can have. I want to thank the newspaper and its readers for what they are doing to support NHS workers and the country as a whole in our battle against coronavirus.’

Commons leader Jacob Rees-Mogg said: ‘From medals for veterans to plastic pollution, from saving free trade to saving post offices, the Daily Mail has a long history of campaigning on the issues that really matter to its readers. During this global crisis we all have a role to play in defeating coronavirus – and the Daily Mail is certainly doing its bit in the very best traditions of Fleet Street.’

At the Government's daily press conference in Downing Street, First Secretary of State Dominic Raab (pictured) applauded the 'fantastic Mail Force campaign'

At the Government's daily press conference in Downing Street, First Secretary of State Dominic Raab (pictured) applauded the 'fantastic Mail Force campaign'

At the Government’s daily press conference in Downing Street, First Secretary of State Dominic Raab (pictured) applauded the ‘fantastic Mail Force campaign’

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: 'A free and vibrant press is a cherished part of our democracy but this terrific initiative is an example of a newspaper being so much more'

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: 'A free and vibrant press is a cherished part of our democracy but this terrific initiative is an example of a newspaper being so much more'

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: ‘A free and vibrant press is a cherished part of our democracy but this terrific initiative is an example of a newspaper being so much more’

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said: ‘This is a fantastic initiative. Huge thanks to the Daily Mail and all the readers who have given their generous support and backing to the NHS.’

Cabinet Minister Michael Gove in the Commons yesterday praised the Daily Mail and its partners for setting up the Mail Force Charity. Supporters of the Mail-backed charity include asset management company Marshall Wace. The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster said: ‘The effort by the Daily Mail is wholly welcome and I applaud it. They’ve done it in combination with business people including Ian Wace and Sir Paul Marshall.’

Tory MP Paul Bristow, who sits on the Commons health committee, said: ‘Mail Force’s efforts to fly in vital supplies are superb and a real boost to the front line.

‘In the middle of this national emergency, the Mail Force initiative is a great example of taking initiative.’

Even Daily Mail critics joined in on the praise for the campaign. Labour shadow minister Lloyd Russell-Moyle said despite not being a reader of the Mail, the newspaper deserved credit for ‘doing something very positive’.

Your help proves we can be protected – and now there’s a spring in our step, writes consultant oncologist MEENAL VIZ  

As a doctor working at a London hospital where the lack of Personal Protective Equipment has been a concern for me and my colleagues across the country, the arrival from China of an airlift of life-saving protective gear worth £1million, organised by the Mail Force charity, couldn’t be more welcome.

Now thousands more NHS staff on the Covid-19 frontline will feel more confident in their ability to care for patients while protecting themselves, as far as possible, from exposure to the virus. I cannot express in words how grateful they will be for this initiative.

For weeks now, doctors, nurses and other clinical staff nationwide – including those who work in care homes or who visit the vulnerable in their own homes – have been begging for adequate protection against this most infectious and deadly of viruses.

But so far, despite frequent promises from ministers who insist they have been doing whatever it takes, it feels as if our pleas have fallen on deaf ears.

As a doctor working at a London hospital where the lack of Personal Protective Equipment has been a concern for me and my colleagues across the country, the arrival from China of an airlift of life-saving protective gear worth £1million, organised by the Mail Force charity, couldn't be more welcome, said Meenal Viz (stock image)

As a doctor working at a London hospital where the lack of Personal Protective Equipment has been a concern for me and my colleagues across the country, the arrival from China of an airlift of life-saving protective gear worth £1million, organised by the Mail Force charity, couldn't be more welcome, said Meenal Viz (stock image)

As a doctor working at a London hospital where the lack of Personal Protective Equipment has been a concern for me and my colleagues across the country, the arrival from China of an airlift of life-saving protective gear worth £1million, organised by the Mail Force charity, couldn’t be more welcome, said Meenal Viz (stock image)

PPE availability remains patchy and delivery irregular. There are reports of staff reusing ‘single use’ kit or making their own versions – anything to protect themselves.

For a charity to step in, secure significant supplies and get the job done in matter of days is truly astounding.

After seeing a copy of the Mail’s dramatic front page yesterday, I doubt there was a single member of frontline staff who didn’t have a spring in their step.

And yet we must not forget the frankly disgraceful circumstances that led to the NHS – one of the world’s biggest employers – having to be helped out in this way.

Yes, this action reflects the Blitz Spirit of which Britain is so justly proud. But it also reflects how NHS procurement is paralysed by layers of bureaucracy.

Just this week British manufacturers accused the Government of ignoring repeated offers of critical equipment which contradicts the Department of Health’s claim that the shortage of PPE is chiefly due to supply problems abroad.

Now thousands more NHS staff on the Covid-19 frontline will feel more confident in their ability to care for patients while protecting themselves, as far as possible, from exposure to the virus (Pictured: Medics at a Covid-19 testing centre in London)

Now thousands more NHS staff on the Covid-19 frontline will feel more confident in their ability to care for patients while protecting themselves, as far as possible, from exposure to the virus (Pictured: Medics at a Covid-19 testing centre in London)

Now thousands more NHS staff on the Covid-19 frontline will feel more confident in their ability to care for patients while protecting themselves, as far as possible, from exposure to the virus (Pictured: Medics at a Covid-19 testing centre in London)

And despite the Government’s insistence that PPE procurement is trickier than rocket science, the arrival of Mail Force One at Heathrow this week proved it is possible to get doctors and nurses the safety equipment that they need.

Now the Government has to follow suit and bolster its supplies. For without PPE, staff on the frontline are defenceless. With this deadly virus already claiming the lives of more than 100 NHS staff, we are all fully aware that our lives are on the line.

My family and I carry an extra burden of fear because I am six-and-a-half months pregnant with my first child. Without adequate protection, how can I be certain that he or she won’t be harmed?

But we are not just worried for our own safety. We are also deeply concerned that if we become infected, we may be helping the virus to continue to spread exponentially inside our hospitals where it will invariably harm our most vulnerable patients and remove us from where we are needed most.

That is why, with great reluctance, my husband Dr Nishant Joshi and I last week launched a legal challenge to the lawfulness of the Government’s PPE guidance, which we maintain is misguidedly based on the notion that at-risk staff only work in Intensive Care Units.

What about our colleagues in maternity units, in A&E or any other department who have become unwell with coronavirus?

We felt abandoned by both the Government and international health bodies and so this legal action was our last resort. After all, if we’re not protected, we can’t protect the public. We had no choice but to protest – just as the Mail Force charity felt it had no choice but to organise this vital, life-saving airlift. It was our duty. Though it shouldn’t have fallen to us to carry out.

Dr Meenal Viz is a junior clinical fellow specialising in oncology at a London hospital.

Fury as coroners told not to factor in PPE failures

By Amelia Clarke for the Daily Mail 

Inquests into the deaths of NHS staff from coronavirus should not examine systemic failures to provide personal protective equipment, the chief coroner has said.

Coroners have been told an inquest is not a ‘satisfactory means of deciding whether general policies and arrangements were in place’ for PPE provision.

The guidance from the chief coroner for England and Wales, Mark Lucraft QC, said an inquest ‘is not the right forum for addressing concerns about high-level government or public policy’, the Guardian reported.

But he added a coroner may need to consider ‘failures of precautions in a particular workplace’ and whether this caused the deceased to contract coronavirus. Labour says the advice could limit investigations into the impact of PPE shortages on frontline staff deaths.

Pictured: A medical worker tests a key worker for coronavirus at a drive-in testing facility at the Chessington World of Adventures Resort in Greater London on April 28

Pictured: A medical worker tests a key worker for coronavirus at a drive-in testing facility at the Chessington World of Adventures Resort in Greater London on April 28

Pictured: A medical worker tests a key worker for coronavirus at a drive-in testing facility at the Chessington World of Adventures Resort in Greater London on April 28

Lord Falconer, the shadow justice secretary, said: ‘I am very worried that an impression is being given that coroners will never investigate whether a failure to provide PPE led to the death of a key worker. This guidance may have an unduly restricting effect on the width of inquests arising out of Covid-19-related deaths.’

Three weeks before his death, Peter Tun, a doctor from Reading, urged Royal Berkshire hospital to provide protective kit before it was ‘too late’.

It remains unclear if an inquest into his death will take place but his family have been contacted by a coroner.

Rinesh Parmar, of the Doctors Association UK, said: ‘The provision of PPE is so vital to the safety of health workers that to suggest coroners do not consider its supply in detail misses a big part of the picture. Only comprehensive inquests into the deaths of every NHS and care worker will give the bereaved the ability to ask questions and have the circumstances of their loved ones’ deaths fully explained.’

Mr Lucraft cited a court ruling that said inquests should consider whether a soldier had died because a flak jacket had been pierced by a bullet. But it should not look into whether more protective flak jackets could or should have been provided by the Ministry of Defence.

It comes as hospices have warned they could run out of PPE ‘within days’ because those providing end-of-life care are being denied access to government supplies. ITV News reported hospices were struggling to afford protective kit because deliveries had all but stopped.

Hospices are being quoted up to 26 times higher prices for surgical masks than NHS suppliers, forcing them to go without. Their PPE crisis coincides with a trebling of the number of hospice patients in April because of the pandemic – up to 24,000 people a day.

Tracey Bleakley, chief executive of Hospice UK, said: ‘Hospices will run out of this within days. They’re already having to ration supplies, which means we’re putting our staff at risk, and it also means we’re putting people in the community at risk.’ 

HERE’S HOW TO DONATE 

Mail Force Charity has been launched with one aim to help support NHS staff, volunteers and care workers fight back against Covid-1 in the UK.

Mail Force is a separate charity established and supported by the Daily Mail and General Trust. The money raised will fund essential equipment required by the NHS and care workers. This equipment is vital in protecting the heroic staff whilst they perform their fantastic work in helping the UK overcome this pandemic.

If we raise more money than is needed for vital Covid-1 equipment, we will apply all funds to support the work of the NHS in other ways.

Click the button below to make a donation:

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