Costa Blanca’s Alicante General Hospital has come under fire after being forced to remove a large batch of material to make protective gowns, donated by China’s Ministry of Health, after cockroaches were found inside the packaging.
ONE of the volunteers involved in a team collaborating with the hospital, making protective gowns for health personnel, reportedly found two insects inside one of the boxes with the material, while preparing them for distribution from his home.
But unions have questioned the scheme’s health and safety procedures.
After notifying the hospital’s transport company, the volunteer notified the centre’s distribution team, which asked for production to be halted and for any material that the volunteers seamstresses had in their homes to be sealed so they could be removed and inspected.
According to the coordinators of this scheme – which has been making masks and gowns since the beginning of the health crisis – the material was delivered to them last Wednesday, April 15.
While sources at the hospital said they “regretted the incident” yesterday, they stressed that these 450 parcels are part of a batch of 3,000, which arrived in 75 different boxes, “in none of which have been detected cockroaches or any other insects.”
They also pointed out that this material has been pulled back “out of prudence” but is not going to be discarded, it will be washed and sterilised in order to use it.
More than 350 volunteers are involved in making protective gowns and masks in their own homes, from donated material.
But the initiative has come under fire from the Medical Union, whose vice-secretary and spokesman in Alicante, Victor Pedrera, who has questioned the effectiveness of gowns produced in “a non-approved way” with little control.
He said that “without doubting the solidarity of the people who are sewing the gowns, which we find commendable, they are not the right people to handle this type of material.”
Pedrera added it showed “a lack of responsibility on the part of the hospital management,” reports El Mundo.
The spokesman for the Health Department of the PPCV in Las Cortes, José Juan Zaplana, also criticised the hospital management for “allowing this high protection material to leave the custody of the Administration to be handled in private homes, where there can be no guarantee that there will be no contact with people carrying this or any other virus.”
Zaplana also warned that when removing the coveralls from the sealed bag and handling this material “the sterilisation chain is broken.”
Those in charge of distributing the material among the seamstresses explained that they pick up the overalls in sealed plastic bags at a designated point from a Health Department vehicle, and that “their work ends there.”
On receipt of the material, the hospital said “everything is washed and sterilised before being used.”