HOSPITAL bosses have denied claims staff were told they could only wear face masks when treating patients who had tested positive for Covid-19.

The allegations were made by a whistleblower at Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford who raised concerns about a new order which was allegedly given to nurses and doctors at the weekend.

They claimed staff were not allowed to wear protective equipment when treating someone with suspected coronavirus who had yet to be tested or were still waiting for test results.

They said: “We were told no masks were to be worn unless a patient is positive with Covid 19.

“It takes three days to get the test result.

“In the meantime, we are treating patients without wearing masks.

“We are feeling like slaughtered goods.”

Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust - which runs the hospital - has denied the claims and says all staff are given full protective equipment when working in what it called “high risk” areas.

A spokesman added: “This specific guidance has been developed by expert clinicians and is being followed by the whole of the NHS.

“We are committed to keeping our staff safe and are working around the clock to ensure we have sufficient supplies of PPE available for our staff.”

The spokesman also said all staff are required to wear basic protective equipment when working in clinical areas.

He said nurses and doctors were advised to wear eye protection if there is a “risk of contamination” of eyes by splashes or droplets.

The Government’s own advice for NHS staff treating patients with coronavirus states protection should be worn even if the case has yet to be confirmed through testing.

The latest guidelines by the Department for Health state all clinicians treating suspected or confirmed Covid-19 patient should wear equipment, including gloves, a surgical mask and eye protection.