To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department made of the adequacy of (a) the funding available and (b) supply levels of personal protective equipment for local authorities that wish to provide that equipment to social care providers in their area.
On 19 March we announced £1.6 billion to help local authorities deal with the immediate impacts of COVID-19, which many councils will have directed towards the adult social care services required to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. On 18 April we announced an additional £1.6 billion of funding to support councils delivering essential front line services.
This funding is part of the Government’s commitment to ensure the National Health Service and social care system, and other public services, have the resources required to tackle COVID-19. The government will continue to monitor pressures in the NHS and local government and will keep future funding under review.
We are working at pace with wholesalers to ensure a longer-term supply of all aspects of personal protective equipment (PPE), including gloves, aprons and facemasks.
During April, we:
- Provided essential PPE supplies to 58,000 different providers, including care homes, hospices and community care organisations;
- Authorised the release of 37 million items of PPE across 38 Local Resilience Forums (LRFs), including 9 million aprons, 4 million masks and 21 million gloves; and
- Authorised a further 15 million items of PPE to the LRFs identified as being in the highest need of resupply and will continue to make drops of PPE for distribution by the LRFs to meet priority needs until the new e-commerce solution.
To further strengthen the resilience and responsiveness we mobilised a National Supply Disruption Response (NSDR) system to respond to emergency PPE requests, including for the social care sector. The NSDR have made over 3,000 emergency deliveries of PPE, many of which are to the adult social care sector.
We are also working this week with a range of social care providers to pilot the Parallel Supply Chain. This is a dedicated channel for critical PPE, and core PPE products for COVID-19, to ensure the system can work well for the social care sector, ahead of rolling it out over the coming weeks.