Health Professions: Protective Clothing

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 8th June 2020.

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Photo of Neil Coyle Neil Coyle Labour, Bermondsey and Old Southwark

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure professionals in primary and secondary care have access to adequate training on how to fit personal protective equipment.

Photo of Preet Kaur Gill Preet Kaur Gill Shadow Secretary of State for International Development

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the efficacy of the (a) coverage and (b) fit of masks that are being supplied to front line key workers with beards.

Photo of Dan Jarvis Dan Jarvis Labour, Barnsley Central

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent steps he has taken to ensure that female NHS staff have properly fitting personal protective equipment during the covid-19 outbreak.

Photo of Caroline Lucas Caroline Lucas Green, Brighton, Pavilion

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of whether there is adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) designed to fit the range of (a) female and (b) male sizes; what steps he is taking to ensure that all workers who require PPE have equipment that fits them properly; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Jo Churchill Jo Churchill The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

Holding answer received on 04 May 2020

The United Kingdom Government and devolved administrations have published clear guidance on appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) for health and social care workers. It is critical that health and care workers make themselves aware of and follow these procedures, so they do not risk exposing themselves to Covid-19 as they remove PPE.

The National Medical Director and Chief Nursing Officer of NHS England and NHS Improvement have written to NHS Chief Executives, Chief Nurses and Medical Directors, emphasising the importance of proper fit testing of disposable sessional personal PPE face masks (such as FFP3 masks).

The Government published “Coronavirus (COVID-19): PPE plan” on 10 April. It incorporates guidance on who needs PPE and when they need it, routes to ensure those who need it can get it at the right time and sets out actions to secure enough PPE to last through the crisis. This can be found at the following link:

Health and Safety Executive have published guidance on fit testing including manual fit testing. In event of no fluid, staff should use the make and model of mask they have previously been fit tested for.

Lord Deighton, formerly Chief Executive of London 2012 Olympics, has been appointed to lead on our domestic efforts to increase the supply of PPE. Contracts have been signed for over 2 billion items of PPE through UK-based manufacturers, including facemasks, visors, gowns and aprons, ensuring we build and maintain a domestic base for the future. Both the MAKE team and NHS England are looking specifically at the gender appropriateness of PPE.

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