DOCTORS are being put at risk by a lack of protective gear, a GP leader has said.

Andy Mcintosh, the chair of the GP Survival Scotland forum, which has around 650 members across Scotland, said many had received no equipment so far.

Those who had had usually only been sent a single box of 50 masks which would last only “two or three days”, said Dr Mcintosh.

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It came as Nicola Sturgeon told MSPs that ministers were working with health boards to ensure that medics “have what they need”.

Health Protection Scotland says doctors dealing with patients suspected of having coronavirus should wear protective goggles, masks and aprons.

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Dr Mcintosh, a GP in Jedburgh in the Borders, said: “Most of my colleagues said they had just been sent a bog-standard box of 50 masks and nothing else. That seems to be standard regardless of whether you have a patient list of 2000 or 20,000.

“Technically speaking you should be using one per patient - we’re not going to keep the same mask on all the time.

“Strictly following the guidelines you’re only supposed to be using them for patients who are suspected of having coronavirus, but you have no way of knowing that.

"I don’t think they realise how many people we see with respiratory symptoms in any given day regardless of the coronavirus situation.

“If you were putting on a mask to meet any patients presenting with respiratory symptoms a box of 50 masks - if you’ve even got that - is going to last no time at all.

"It might last one GP two or three days, maybe.

“It puts us in a very difficult position.”

Dr Mcintosh said the focus had been on hospitals, but GPs would be on the frontline.

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“The emphasis on video and telephone consultations is fine but there are patients who you simply have to see face-to-face and examine.”

Speaking in the Scottish Parliament, Ms Sturgeon said: “The safety and wellbeing of our NHS staff is vital at all times, but especially given what they are facing now.

"If there are any frontline health professionals out there who do not feel they have what they need they should contact their health board.”