PPE supplies could run out within days, councils warn

Town hall leaders have warned that PPE for frontline care workers will run out within days, unless the government takes urgent action.

The Local Government Association (LGA) said the government’s Clipper system, which is intended to be a central hub for PPE supples, is not yet fully up and running and could take at least another three weeks before it gets up to speed

The LGA said shortages of PPE are hampering efforts to combat the coronavirus and is calling for councils to be given an urgent guarantee that emergency supplies will reach them and their partners while they wait for the Clipper service to be fully operational.

Earlier this week, Social Care Today reported that the deputy leader of Wigan Council had admitted it is sourcing its own PPE amid a ‘lack of supplies’ from central government.

The LGA said councils are continuing to have to appeal to local businesses, manufacturers and other organisations to see if they can help supply unused or produce any new PPE such as gloves, aprons, goggles and masks.

More than 110 businesses and individuals in Wolverhampton have come forward to offer a wide range of PPE, which will be used to help keep the city council’s team of frontline social care workers safe as they deliver essential support to Wolverhampton’s most vulnerable residents.

And gloves, aprons and face masks have all been donated by businesses and organisations after an urgent appeal for PPE was made in Southend-on-Sea.

Over 20 businesses and organisations have responded to the appeal, including restaurants, schools and churches.
‘We must make sure our vital social care workers have all the protection and equipment they need to look after our most elderly and vulnerable,’ said the chairman of the LGA’s community wellbeing board, Cllr Ian Hudspeth.

‘Emergency drops have been helpful, but they have been sporadic and inconsistent, with some supplies not always enough to meet local demand.

‘Councils recognise that starting a new supply and distribution system from scratch is a huge undertaking, but we cannot afford any more delays. The government’s online ordering system needs to be fully operational as soon as possible, so that councils and care providers can directly request that critical PPE gets to the frontline where it is desperately needed.’

Photo Credit – Coyot (Pixabay)

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