To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to help secure the import of personal protection equipment during the covid-19 outbreak; and if he will make a statement.
A cross-Government PPE sourcing unit, staffed by over 400 people, is securing new supply lines from across the world and has published rigorous standards against which purchases will be made. We are identifying new sources of critical PPE from overseas markets, diversifying the United Kingdom’s sources of supply and strengthening the UK’s supply chains for the long term.
Teams from the Department for International Trade and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office around the world are seeking new supplies, lobbying governments to lift export restrictions and helping get crucial deliveries back to the UK. The combined Department for International Trade, Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Department for Health and Social Care efforts have resulted in the Department for Health and Social Care raising purchase orders for over 31 billion items of PPE; direct from new relationships in source countries, as well as through our trusted UK suppliers to the National Health Service, who themselves are using their global connections to help us.