A SECURITY guard at York Hospital claims he has been suspended from work since last month after refusing to go near a Covid-19 patient on a ward without adequate PPE.

He also claims a patient with coronavirus spat in another security officer’s unprotected eyes, forcing him to take time off work and stay in isolation, although he fortunately later tested negative for Covid-19.

Daniel Edwick, 27, of Dringhouses, said the PPE issue was crucial to him because his partner was vulnerable because of asthma but claimed staff were issued with nothing more than masks.

The hospital’s trust, which does not employ Mr Edwick, said it couldn’t comment on his case but keeping patients and staff safe was its top priority.

Mr Edwick said: “All we have been given is face masks. I am not even sure how much protection they offer alone.

“As I understand it, these are only intended to protect you from particles entering through the mouth, and are not adequate for dealing in close contact with a symptomatic Covid-19 patient.

“I fear that if people are being told that they have to go to ‘hot’ wards (where Covid-19 patients stay) without the right approved PPE equipment, then this will result in the virus spreading across the workplace.”

Mr Edwick was sent a letter last month by his employer, OCS Group UK Ltd, confirming he was under paid suspension from April 11, pending a formal investigation of allegations of misconduct due to "poor attitude" and "refusal to perform duties requested of you by your line manager".

York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust said it wouldn’t comment on ongoing process with an individual, as that was a matter for their employer, but on the issue of PPE a spokeswoman said: “Keeping staff and patients safe is our top priority.

“We are following national guidance around the use of PPE for all patient contact, and all staff are trained to comply with this guidance at all times to ensure they protect themselves and our patients.

“We have teams of people working round the clock to monitor stocks, place orders, contact suppliers and make sure supplies are distributed in quantities that staff need to ensure they can access the personal protective equipment needed to do their jobs safely.”

Mr Edwick’s union Unison said it was aware of the issue and was representing him.

“We’ve taken this up with both OCS and the Teaching Hospitals,” said a spokesperson.

“At this stage, we can’t go into too much detail, as we don’t want to prejudice the outcome of the case. However, Unison remains deeply concerned as to whether staff are receiving adequate PPE protection while working on Covid wards.

“It would appear that, on this occasion, the PPE given was insufficient, although the matter is still under investigation.”

The Press has made extensive efforts for more than a week to give OCS Group UK Ltd opportunity to comment on Mr Edwick’s allegations and put its side of the story, but no one had responded by our deadline on Friday.