A £32,000 fundraiser has been launched to buy personal protective equipment for staff Southend A&E. 

Staff have raised a number of concerns over the protective gear which they have been provided since the beginning of the outbreak.

Hospital bosses have consistently said there is enough equipment for staff, to the standard required by Public Health England.

But staff say they require a higher level of protection, as outlined by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

So far, £800 has been raised. 

In a statement on the funding page, set up by Southend man Luke Farey, he states: "As you may have seen from those brave enough to speak out, many of our frontline NHS staff are not being given the equipment deemed necessary by the WHO to do their jobs safely.  

"Some receiving the watered down equipment that Public Health England recommend and some NHS staff, despite working with and around Covid-19 patients are being provided with nothing at all."

He adds: "I’ve spent the last week or so endeavouring to source FFP3 / N99 standard respirator masks.  Despite my best efforts, I cannot yet find these.  

"In the meantime, for now I’m looking to get a shipment of FFP2 / KN95 / N95 masks, as these are still more suitable than standard surgical masks.

"My search is ongoing, but I wanted to start this page hoping that by the time I’m ready, there will be enough funds to purchase immediately.

"I do have a trusted contact that can provide FFP2 / KN95 masks at a cost of £3.25 each, air freighted.  

"If anyone has any trusted contacts in China that are producing such mask, please do contact me.  

"Also, if anyone has contacts in China that could help with due diligence checking CE certificates that would be great, please let me know what locations.

"This is a tricky job, as understandably there is a global demand for these mask with many producers only supplying to their own government.  

"I am also aware that there are many fake / sub standard masks out there.  But I will get there.  I will then look to source the correct aprons and visors as these are also very thin on the ground.

"Please, please dig deep if you can. These amazing workers are risking their lives for us and our loved ones and also then have the risk and fear or taking the virus back home to their own families. They are our heroes.

"If there is a sudden turn around and all staff suddenly receive the correct WHO approved equipment I will look to providing these to other hospitals, frontline workers, pharmacy workers, GPs, supermarket checkout staff etc."

Mr Farey concludes: "All funds raised will be used solely for the purpose of purchasing PPE equipment for NHS staff and frontline workers.  

"Excess funds will be held until this awful virus is under control and our lives are back to some kind of normality, with any left over money being donated to both Southend Hospital Charity and Havens Hospice."

Southend Hospital has previously said: “Consistent with national guidance, all staff in high risk areas are given full Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). 

"This guidance has been developed by expert clinicians and is being followed by the whole of the NHS. We are getting regular deliveries of PPE and are committed to keeping our staff safe.”

To view the fundraiser, click here.