PPE face mask gloves

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has confirmed that a huge increase in domestic production of personal protective equipment (PPE) will ensure health and social care workers treating COVID-19 patients have access to an uninterrupted supply of equipment.

According to the government, 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, the government has confirmed.

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DHSC says that the huge increase in UK production of PPE means that 70 per cent of the expected demand for PPE will be met by UK manufacturers from December. In contrast, pre-pandemic, one percent of PPE was produced in the UK.

This major increase in domestic manufacturing has also led to the creation of hundreds of new jobs and reduced reliance on overseas companies.

The announcement comes as the UK 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: “At the start of the pandemic, meeting the huge demands for PPE was a massive challenge. That’s why we have worked every day since to ensure we have an uninterrupted supply to meet the challenges in the coming months and protect those who are protecting us.

“We have built robust and resilient supply chains from scratch and thanks to an absolutely phenomenal effort from UK businesses, almost three quarters of demand for PPE will soon be met by UK manufacturers.

“As we take every step to combat this virus we are setting out this plan to reassure our health and social care workers that they will have the PPE they need to carry out their tireless work.”

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.

To meet the unparalleled demand for PPE within the UK, the government rapidly processed over 23,000 cases from over 15,000 suppliers – including Herida Healthcare – to ensure they meet the safety and quality standards that NHS staff need, as well as prioritising offers of larger volumes.

DHSC added: “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.”

The government has also announced free PPE to support care homes as part of the new Adult Social Care Winter Plan.

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