April 23, 2020 / 4:02 PM / a month ago

Nuclear decommission industry donates gowns to help health workers

FILE PHOTO: Medical staff are seen at the NHS Nightingale Hospital at the Excel Centre in London as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, London, Britain, April 14, 2020. REUTERS/John Sibley

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain’s nuclear industry is giving specialised equipment for the country’s health service to help fight the coronavirus outbreak, with Sellafield Limited, which reprocesses nuclear fuel, donating 20,000 gowns and other kit.

Martin Chown, chief executive of Sellafield, said the nuclear industry had hoped to tackle a global shortage of safety kit for those working in hospitals and treating patients with COVID-19.

Britain’s government has been criticised by some health workers for failing to provide all doctors, nurses and care workers with the necessary personal protection equipment (PPE). The government says there have been challenges in supply and distribution but that it is working hard to deliver the kit.

“Gowns were identified as being in particular short supply. Our knowledge of the PPE supply chain meant we could quickly establish a reliable route for high quality items via a national manufacturer and a local distributor,” Chown said in a statement.

Andrew van der Lem, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority’s Head of Government Relations said it was part of wider effort by its group, which has also donated 32,000 pairs of gloves, more than 5,000 full protective suits and over 8,000 face masks.

Reporting by Elizabeth Piper, editing by Estelle Shirbon

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