The Department has well-established procedures to deal with supply problems affecting all medical products and supplies, including medicines, medical devices and personal protective equipment regardless of the cause, and work closely with industry, the National Health Service and others in the supply chain to help prevent shortages and to ensure that the risks to patients are minimised.
A product supply response group has been set up to manage supply of products and to support any response to shortages required for the COVID-19 outbreak. The group is also considering the potential mid to long-term impacts of the outbreak globally. The Department is communicating with all stakeholders, including Royal Colleges, charities, patient groups, the NHS, the adult social care sector, and the devolved nations, and will continue to keep these stakeholders updated as the situation progresses.
Personal protective equipment has been issued to general practices since 9 March the packs include facemasks, aprons and gloves.