Government delivery of PPE to bolster stock for priority care workers

Council offices and chambers across Suffolk may be closed to the public, but authorities are plannin

Council offices and chambers across Suffolk may be closed to the public, but authorities are planning virtual meetings following a change in Government legislation on Saturday. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

A one-off delivery of personal protective equipment (PPE) from the government will be used in priority areas of health and social care in Suffolk’s fight against the spread of coronavirus.

The consignment was due to arrive on Tuesday to bolster existing stock of vital PPE used to protect the wearer against risks to health and safety.

The delivery from central government follows an appeal by Suffolk County Council for businesses to donate unused PPE for critical frontline staff caring for the county’s most vulnerable.

In a daily update on Suffolk’s response to COVID-19, the county council said it was providing a centralised cell for PPE in order to understand daily consumption rates for all non-NHS areas.

Last week, the county council said it still needed supplies of fluid repellent face masks, nitrile non-powdered disposable gloves, disposable aprons, sanitiser gel, disposable eye protection and splash goggles, on top of large quantities already sourced, packed and sent to the front line.

Staff spent the previous fortnight working with procurement experts to secure PPE stock.

Endeavour House headquarters has been the central base for all PPE delivery, storage, preparation and distribution for two weeks.

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Packs are being sent out to frontline services on a daily basis, the council has said, adding that it had been collating information for adult and children’s services, district and borough councils, the police and fire service, to be fed into the stock and procurement system, which it said had established good supply chains, nationally and internationally.

Specialist military planners have been deployed to guide local responses to the pandemic, with non-uniformed personnel sent to local resilience forums across the country to coordinate resources.

Government guidance states that care workers in close contact with symptomatic individuals should use PPE, including aprons, gloves and fluid repellent surgical masks, and that new PPE must be used for each episode of care.

Meanwhile, there has been massive demand for PPE at hospitals where NHS teams are likely to come into contact with patients with coronavirus.

Yesterday, chief executive of Ipswich and Colchester hospitals, Nick Hulme said the NHS Trust currently had enough PPE and that the most high-risk staff had the “very best equipment”.

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