The free distribution of fluid repellent facemasks from the pandemic flu stock started yesterday, with every care home and home care provider receiving at least 300 facemasks, the government has said.
In a statement shared on Twitter by the Care Provider Alliance and the Care Quality Commission, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said it anticipates the distribution will be complete by next Tuesday.
The news comes after the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, insisted in the House of Commons that there is a “massive effort” going on to ensure that frontline staff have enough PPE throughout the coronavirus outbreak.
“We know that supplies of personal protective equipment to the care sector is fundamental for the good care of individuals with suspected symptoms of COVID-19. We are clear that no wholesaler has been asked to prioritise NHS provision over the care sector, nor should they be doing so,” the statement said.
The free distribution of masks is aimed at “tiding over” the initial rise in demand following the change of guidance of facemasks last week. Providers are not required to take action; the stock will be delivered to them.
The DHSC said it is “working rapidly” with wholesalers to ensure a longer-term supply of all aspects of personal protective equipment, including gloves aprons, facemasks and hand sanitizer.
For future PPE requirements, care providers should order PPE form their usual suppliers.
If care providers have immediate concerns over their supply of PPE, there is now a dedicated line for the health and social care sector:
The National Supply Disruption line
Tel: 0800 915 9964
In the future, if a care provider is unable to get PPE from their normal supplier, the supplier will be asked to report this to the National Supply Disruption Response team, who can advise on alternative suppliers.
Caption: Care Minister Helen Whately and Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock.