The deputy chief medical officer has said that the problems around protective equipment have been ’completely resolved’, so that hospitals and ’other workers in the care system’ will receive adequate supplies.
Dr Jenny Harries told the daily coronavirus briefing that ’the country has a perfectly adequate supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) at the moment’.
She said that encompasses ’quite a wide range of different gowns, masks, gloves, all sorts of things’.
However, it was unclear whether ’other workers in the care system’ included GPs. Nursing in Practice‘s sister publication Pulse has contacted the Department of Health and Social Care to clarify.
Dr Harries admitted that there had been concerns on a local basis.
It was revealed that the majority of GPs didn’t have an adequate supply of protective equipment by the start of this week, and their concerns were exacerbated by receiving face masks that had a label stuck over their 2016 expiry date.
But Dr Harries told press gathered at the Prime Minister’s briefing: ’There have been some differential deliveries in some areas which has caused a degree of concern recently. That is completely resolved now and in fact what we’ve done in the last 36 hours is set up an entirely separate PPE oversight and supply chain which allows hospitals – but also we need to be very clear there are other workers in the care system who are equally important – and will allow that appropriate management to ensure that the supply and demand is there.
’We do need to be really clear that this is an unprecedented health event for this country and so it is not unlikely that we will have found a pressure in the early days where an individual hospital, trust or organisation has had to suddenly ramp up its demand.’
She added: ’But that supply is there and running alongside that is a call out to arms – a bit like ventilators and testing as well – to make sure that we are exploring every avenue and opportunity for keeping those supplies coming through.’