Masks ordered from China, industrialists mobilized, requisitioned stocks… Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, the shortage of face protection equipment has angered caregivers, and the State has promised to do everything to remedy it. “By the end of April, we will have the capacity to produce around 15 million masks per week”, Emmanuel Macron assured, Tuesday March 31.
Meanwhile, in French hospitals, the lack of equipment remains chronic. While most have indeed received a few batches of masks, the lack of visibility of the stocks and their renewal often leads the departments to distribute this equipment sparingly.
“We are rationed because there was a lack of initial masks and because there have been thefts, there is no longer a box in front of each room as before, and the number of masks that are not under key is minimal “, says Thomas Gille, pulmonologist at the Avicenne hospital in Bobigny (Seine-Saint-Denis).
At Creil hospital, in the Oise department, the first establishment in France to have received patients affected by Covid-19, the situation changed in mid-February “Slightly improved”, notes Corinne Delys, secretary general of CGT. “We had a lot of donations from local companies or individuals in masks or overshirts, testifies Mme Delys. The expression is a bit cynical, but often comes back in the mouth of colleagues: it seems like there is a Telethon for the hospital. ” Donations are not limited to protective gear. “We are also offered coffee makers, microwaves. So many little things that are good for morale. “
“Source of fear”
In the same department, at Compiègne hospital, donations temporarily make up for the shortage of equipment. “We are still waiting for the millions of masks to arrive from China, testifies a staff representative, who wishes to remain anonymous. We still have charlottes, gloves, surgical masks, but not enough FFP2 masks. Even for caregivers who are in constant contact with patients with Covid-19, there is not one for everyone. It is a source of concern, of fear, for staff who do not work in satisfactory safety conditions. “
The hospital departments deal with the means at hand. “The management tells us that it is not able to provide us with the number of masks required, to the point that it has decided, since last weekend, to have 5,000 homemade masks made by students in medicine and pharmacy », says Benjamin Delrue, a nurse at the Angers University Hospital.