Almost one third of all National Health Service (NHS) staff have had the coronavirus, according to the findings of a survey by GMB – the UK’s general trade union.

GMB’s 631,000-plus members work in sectors ranging from retail, security, schools, distribution, utilities to social care, the NHS, ambulance service and local government. The union’s survey included more than 1,600 ambulance workers and found 37 per cent of these have had coronavirus – with a ‘massive’ 84 per cent of them saying they caught it while on the job.

Almost 30 per cent of ambulance workers who had contracted Covid said their symptoms were ‘really bad’ or ‘required medical attention’. GMB’s survey of over 3,506 workers across the NHS workforce found 30 per cent reported they had caught the coronavirus, with almost 60 per cent saying they passed it to a family member.

GMB’s survey of over 1,600 ambulance workers found 37% of them have had coronavirus.

The GMB said it is clear that poor PPE is to blame, and calls on the UK Government and Public Health England to urgently review PPE guidance for health workers.

The union said ambulance workers report having to attend patients with flimsy gowns instead of proper PPE, while hospital nurses working amongst Covid-19 patients say they are given only the most basic of surgical masks. And the union has also found that hospital trusts are not isolating and testing patients efficiently.

GMB’s National Officer Rachel Harrison said: “Our health workers are dropping like flies – yet the government and Public Health England still won’t give them proper FFP (Filtering Face Piece) Level 3 protection. We’re a year into the pandemic – this is a disgrace.

“Our paramedics, technicians and practitioners are expected to treat suspected coronavirus patients with nothing but a flimsy mask and a plastic apron. GMB has called for guidance to be reviewed since the start of the pandemic and unless ministers sit up and take notice, our health service will be overwhelmed,” she added.