If there is a public inquiry over the handling of the coronavirus, the provision of personal protective equipment (PPE) to front-line staff could be a major theme.
The government has been put under major pressure by staff over the past four days because of delays to the delivery of vital equipment. This left them at risk as they dealt with a flood of covid-19 cases described as “all-consuming” by one hospital chief executive (while another major trust declared a critical incident).
The last two weeks have prompted a mammoth effort from local and national procurement teams to make sure clinicians have the PPE they need.
But, sadly, the bigger picture was what the Health Care Supply Association called a “system” failure (although it did not blame staff).
Numerous trusts, some of them very large, have turned to alternative suppliers to source this vital kit, in some cases spending hundreds of thousands of pounds. The situation has apparently been so dire in recent days that, over the weekend, the HCSA asked DIY shops to donate their PPE to local trusts.
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Source: HSJ, 24 March 2020
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