DESPITE calls for more personal protective equipment (PPE) to protect staff against the latest strains of Covid-19, no changes will be made to what will be issued to Isle of Wight NHS Trust teams.

Nationally, fears about the UK variant of Covid, which is thought to be 70 per cent more transmissible, and the South African variant have led to calls for increased PPE levels for frontline workers from trade unions.

However, a review of the guidance from Public Health England (PHE) has said the levels of PPE currently being worn by staff are appropriate.

Speaking at the meeting of the Isle of Wight NHS Trust board, director of nursing, Alice Webster, said she was pleased with the recommendation from PHE and although there had been a movement within the trust to review the levels, they would not change.

She said: "The guidance is very clear and we are clear about what they (staff) should be wearing.

"While we have had a number of outbreaks this has not necessarily been due to the PPE they have worn or the way it was worn."

Steve Parker, medical director, said to deviate from the national guidance from PHE, would be 'inappropriate'.

He said while the trust recognised the professional challenge about how people use their PPE and the pressure from trade unions to enhance the level, staff would maintain the current guidance.

Recently, levels of Covid positive patients currently being treated in St Mary's Hospital, Newport, have been dropping.

Latest data shows on February 9, 48 patients occupied Covid beds, compared to a peak in January of 95.