Irish doctors have voiced their concerns that the country is ill-prepared for an outbreak of the Ebola virus raging across West Africa.
The Irish Health Service Executive, HSE, has already denied reports that one patient has been treated for the deadly virus at a Dublin hospital.
The HSE’s health Protection Surveillance Centre has issued guidelines for treating Ebola to doctors across the country.
But some doctors have told the Sunday Times that many surgeries have not received the equipment recommended by the HSE when treating a suspected Ebola patient.
The guidelines for ‘emerging viral threats’ including Ebola, avian flu and Middle East respiratory syndrome were issued to doctors earlier this month according to the paper.
They include wearing gloves, a long-sleeved gown and a face mask with visor or a mask and goggles when treating suspected cases.
Monaghan doctor Illona Duffy told the paper: “It’s not just us who are being exposed; our staff and other patients in the surgery are too.
“They can’t just issue the guidelines - they have to issue the support as well.
“Long-sleeved gowns would not normally be stocked in GP surgeries. We’ve nothing like that.”
The HSE has already denied reports that a patient suspected of contracting the deadly virus was being transferred to the Mater Hospital in Dublin.
The HSE said: “We are about to send GPs individually prepared personal protective equipment [PPE] packs which contain all of the equipment that is required.”
“GPs in the normal course of business can, and do, see highly infectious patients and supply themselves with PPE accordingly. It is only on an exceptional basis that a decision is taken to centrally supply PPE packs to GPs for a specific threat.”