Robust and resilient PPE supply chains will provide continuous flow to frontline across Britain.
Health and social care workers treating COVID-19 patients have access to an uninterrupted supply of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), the government has confirmed today.
Four-month stockpiles of items such as face masks, visors and gowns will be in place from November to provide a continuous flow to the frontline, helping to ensure staff always have the equipment they need. Overall, 32 billion items have now been purchased.
Thanks to the unprecedented domestic production of PPE, for items such gowns and FFP3 facemasks, 70 per cent of the expected demand for PPE will be met by UK manufacturers from December. Businesses have been supporting the national effort by creating hundreds of new jobs and reducing reliance on overseas companies. Before the pandemic, just 1 per cent of PPE was produced in the UK.
The government has today published a new PPE strategy setting out a data-driven approach to building further resilience in the supply chain to respond to rising rates of coronavirus infection
Health and Care Secretary Matt Hancock said:
Since February 2020, over 3.5 billion PPE items have been distributed to the frontline, including GPs, social care providers, community pharmacists, dentists and hospices.
Amid unparalleled demand, the average number of items of PPE distributed increased considerably. For example:
- during the peak of the pandemic from 20 April to 26 April, 102 million items of PPE were delivered. 121 million items were delivered between 14 and 20 September now we have more resilient supply chains
- the normal supply chain for PPE was designed to accommodate delivery to 226 NHS Trusts, but essential supplies are now being sent to 58,000 different settings after a new distribution network was built from scratch
- we have rapidly processed over 23,000 cases from over 15,000 suppliers to ensure they meet the safety and quality standards that our NHS staff need, as well as prioritising offers of larger volumes. We have actively engaged with over 99% of the companies that have offered PPE. We now have sufficient contracted supplies for our foreseeable demand in all product areas
- we announced free PPE to support care homes as part of our new Adult Social Care Winter Plan
More than 300 deals have been struck to provide PPE. We have been working with many household names including the Royal Mint, Royal Mail, eBay. Through the ‘make’ initiative we are working with companies like Honeywell to manufacture and deliver PPE at scale and pace, levelling up jobs and skills across the country, reducing our reliance on overseas manufacturers and lowering our carbon footprint.
Lord Deighton, the government’s adviser on PPE who previously led the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics, was also appointed to oversee supply and ramp up manufacturing of PPE from UK-based companies.
Lord Paul Deighton, adviser to the Health Secretary on PPE, said: