To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent discussions he has had with (a) medical and nursing unions and (b) professional bodies on what action staff who do not have adequate personal protective equipment to treat patients safely should take.
Public Health England (PHE) published guidance on PPE for health and social care workers. This was written and reviewed by all four UK public health bodies and informed by NHS infection prevention control experts. It is consistent with World Health Organisation (WHO) guidance. This guidance on PPE underwent consultation with the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, Royal College of Nursing, Royal College of Midwifes and the British Medical Association.
The Government has published considerations for acute PPE shortages online. This highlighted the sessional use and reuse of PPE when there are severe shortages of supply; this did not replace the extant PPE guidance. This document was issued for emergency shortages and did not have a consultation.
We are confident in the stocks and sources of supply of PPE to meet the needs of health and social care over the next 7 and 90 days. The National Supply Disruption Response (NSDR) operates a 24-hour helpline that can respond to emergency PPE requests.
Two billion items of PPE have been delivered to NHS and social care staff across England since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak and almost 28 billion items of PPE have been ordered overall from UK-based manufacturers and international partners to provide a continuous supply in the coming months.