Offer of free PPE to adult social care providers extended

Edward Argar MP

Free personal protective equipment (PPE) will be offered to frontline health and social care staff in England for another year.

Following a consultation, adult social care providers will continue to receive free Covid-19 PPE until 31 March 2023 or until infection prevention control guidance is withdrawn or significantly amended.

The government is also developing a better platform for procurement of PPE that aims to be quicker and easier to use. Health and social care providers have been invited to test the platform. The new portal will be rolled out to eligible users from April.

Health minister Edward Argar said: ‘We are extending the offer of free PPE to help relieve pressure on the health and care system, working hand in hand with providers to develop a new ordering platform that works best for them.’

A consultation was launched in October to find out whether to extend the central, free provision of PPE. Over 5,000 responses were received, with 95% of respondents in favour of extending the offer.

Professor Martin Green, chief executive of Care England, said: ‘The sector is currently contending with a multitude of issues against a backdrop of outbreaks and rising infection levels, so this represents a welcome relief and will provide a real boost for the sector as we learn to live with Covid.

‘This is a positive step forward in the government’s response to aiding the sector, but this must be accompanied by further measures, including a comprehensive solution to the ongoing workforce pressures being felt by the sector. The adult social care workforce is our biggest resource and must be recognised and valued as such.’

A group of MPs concluded social care providers were left exposed by a lack of PPE due to the government’s decision to prioritise hospitals at the beginning of the pandemic.