Coronavirus: More personal protective equipment for NHS staff

LAST UPDATED: 30TH MARCH AT 14:30

In the face of this unprecedented global emergency, never has the need to bolster our workforce and arm them with the vital tools they need to save lives been more crucial. That is why we are taking urgent action to ensure our dedicated frontline NHS and social care staff –who are working tirelessly to tackle this outbreak –feel supported by delivering millions more PPE kits to them. We are working round the clock to make all NHS who need protective equipment have access to it, so they are well-equipped to continue to fight this disease, protect themselves and save lives.

We are doing this by:

  • Distributing millions more pieces of equipment to NHS staff, so that everyone who needs personal protectiveequipment can get it. We have established the national supply distribution response team, supported by the Armed Forces, to deliver equipment to people who need it the most. We have delivered: 

    • 170 million masks

    • 42.8 million gloves

    • 13.7 million aprons

    • 182,000 gowns

    • Almost 10 million items of cleaning equipment

    •  2.3 million pairs of eye protectors 

  • Every single GP practice, dental practice, and community pharmacy has had a PPE delivery. All care homes, hospices, and home care providers have, or will shortlyhave, a delivery.
  • Ensuring that frontline NHS staff get the tests they need to keep safe and treat patients. Working with universities, research institutes and businesses, we arerolling out staff testing across the NHS, with plans for a full roll-out for health, social care and other frontline workers. The new service will be free and help to end the uncertainty of whether NHS staff need to stay at home.
  • Working with British manufacturers to support the production of essential medical equipment for the NHS. The Prime Minister has spoken with manufacturers, including Unipart Group, and called on them to support the nationwide effort to fight the virus. We are asking businesses to support with the production of equipment such as ventilators for the NHS.
  • Setting up a 24-hour NHS-run hotline, so NHS staff can always have access to the equipment they need. The new dedicated PPE supply hotline allows organisations to order more PPE 24 hours a day.
  • Issuing new guidance on the supply and use of PPE, meeting the needs of NHS staff. As part of the new guidance, trusts will also be asked to ensure that all relevant staff have received the necessary fit-test training –with new courses put on for staff using PPE.
  • Increasing the number of coronavirus tests to 25,000 a day, helping to get NHS and other critical public sector staff back to work. We have also called on companies to work with the government to rapidly develop a test to establish whether people have developed immunity. This will help get NHS and other critical public sector staff back to work as fast as they can.
  • Making it easier for businesses to supply more personal protective equipment to the NHS and frontline health workers. We are also removing administrative barriers to the manufacturing of hand sanitizer, by reducing the amount of red tape to help firms bring their products to market in a matter of days.