The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has confirmed that it will extend the provision of free PPE to health and social care providers until the end of March 2022.
Health bosses said the vaccine is not a silver bullet and the care sector must remain vigilant by maintaining high levels of infection prevention and control.
DHSC said although setting up free PPE via a centralised mechanism took some months, the current system means that providers can order and receive PPE thus maintaining a high level of sustainability and resilience in relation to PPE supply.
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: ‘The Government is extending the provision of free PPE for all health, social care and public sector workers, until the end of March 2022.
‘Following the previous announcement of free PPE provision to health, social care and public sector workers until June 2021, the scheme will now be extended, as the expectation of clinical experts is that usage will remain high throughout the next financial year.
‘Ensuring the future of additional free PPE will support the roadmap out of lockdown, whilst the vaccine programme continues to reach more people.’
Professor Martin Green, chief executive of Care England, welcomed the news.
‘PPE is one of the main barriers in a care setting to limiting the spread of Covid-19 thus Care England is pleased that the government has listened to its pleas for an extension to free PPE as it will help protect some of society’s most vulnerable as well as our staff at the frontline.
‘PPE also plays a critical role in the wider COVID-19 response, such as enabling visiting to care homes. We do not know what the winter this year will bring but free, rigorously tested PPE gives providers a chance to be prepared.’
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