Delivering thanks and equipment
This week, the Department of Health and Social Care, published a new PPE (personal protective equipment) strategy, which sets out how PPE will be delivered to the frontline, in both health and social care, until the end of March 2021. This is a good opportunity to thank the health and care workforce for everything they do - and have done - during the exceptional circumstances we all find ourselves in.
The Department’s overriding priority is to protect staff, service users and our wider communities, thereby reducing infections and saving lives.
With the potential impact of wider winter pressures, care providers should be reassured there will be a four-month stockpile of items such as face masks, visors and gowns in place from November to ensure a continuous flow to the frontline.
Overall, 32 billion items have now been purchased. We have massively increased domestic production of PPE as well, with 70 percent of the expected demand for PPE (excluding gloves) to be met by UK manufacturers from December.
Free PPE to social care providers
We have decided to make this PPE available, free of charge to social care providers, to make sure supplies are continuous throughout the winter. This is in line with recommendations made by the COVID-19 Social Care Support Taskforce led by former ADASS president David Pearson CBE.
I urge all eligible social care providers (including domiciliary care providers, residential care homes, children’s residential special schools and children’s care homes and secure homes), to continue registering with the PPE portal, as a priority. Infection rates are rising in the UK and winter is approaching.
To make sure all providers have a resilient route for free COVID-19 PPE, we have increased order limits on the PPE Portal. These increases are based on modelling what the demand for COVID-19 PPE is likely to be. We will continue to adjust these limits based on the latest modelling.
Many health and social care providers are already using the PPE Portal to order PPE for their COVID-19 needs, free of charge. For example, as of Wednesday 30 September 2020, 67 percent of eligible domiciliary care providers and 57 percent of eligible adult residential care homes have registered with the portal. Over 85 percent of those who have registered have ordered. We must make sure everyone has the PPE they need so please do play your part in this collective effort.
Links and advice
Register and access the portal here, using your CQC/MHRA/NHSE/NHS BSA registered email
Guidance on the PPE items you can order (including order limits)
Call the customer service team on 0800 876 6802 if you have any questions about using the portal. The team is available from 7am - 7pm, seven days a week.
Remember: the PPE portal is your primary source of free COVID-19 PPE (including flu vaccination requirements).
Any social care providers ineligible for the portal will still be able to access free PPE from either their Local Resilience Forum or their local authority, depending on local arrangements. This will be clarified shortly on GOV.UK. In the meantime you can speak to your local authority if you are unclear on your supply route.
We know this winter will be challenging but, with these new measures in place, we hope you'll be confident the supply of PPE is one thing you won't have to worry about.