A new website has been launched to connect suppliers of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) with those who need it most during the coronavirus pandemic.
PPE Exchange allows key and frontline workers across the independent, voluntary and public sectors to post their PPE requirements, which are then matched to manufacturers and suppliers of vital safety equipment like gloves, visors and aprons.
In the space of two weeks, the initiative has registered the requirements of more than 13 million pieces of urgently needed PPE across the UK.
Grosvenor Health and Social Care, a provider of home care visits across 74 UK locations, has sourced more than 360,000 pieces of PPE from the site.
Chief operating officer at Grosvenor HSC, Darren Stapelberg, said: “We are pleased to report of the success we’ve had from PPE Exchange. The unprecedented nature of this virus has meant all our existing PPE relationship’s and supply chains have been exhausted. We were struggling to find any suppliers that could accommodate our volume orders. The website has allowed us to be matched with a number of suppliers.”
The site, supported by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and GMB Union, is the brainchild of Shropshire software specialist Shoothill.
The company switched its attentions to creating the list through a legacy of contacts in the public sector. Its team has kept the site free to use for both suppliers and those in need of the equipment.
Shoothill managing director Rod Plummer said: “We wanted to do something to help and realised we had the capacity and knowhow to attempt this. We got the site up and running in a matter of days and since then we have been inundated with requests for PPE.
“Across the country, supplies of PPE are proving scarce, in short supply and at times non- existent. We have heard of care homes, where our many vulnerable friends and family are housed, and home care agencies providing the service in the community, having to resort to improvised masks and aprons fashioned from bin bags.
“Mobilising PPE to get to the frontlines is essential to ensure the safest possible working conditions and critically slow the wave of infection and save lives. Time is of the essence, with shortages and bottlenecks putting more and more people at risk, every effort is needed to tackle shortages.”