Last reviewed 18 January 2022

The Government’s offer of free personal protective equipment (PPE) for frontline health and care staff has been extended until 31 March 2023.

The Department of Health and Social Care’s (DHSC’s) announcement said NHS trusts, primary care and adult social care providers will continue to receive Covid-19 PPE free of charge until 31 March 2023, or until infection prevention and control (IPC) guidance is withdrawn or significantly amended, to ensure staff and their patients are protected.

The announcement comes following a public consultation that was launched in October 2021 to determine whether to extend the central, free provision of PPE. The programme was previously due to close at the end of March 2022.

Care England Chief Executive Professor Martin Green welcomed the extension, adding that the social care sector was contending with a multitude of issues against a backdrop of outbreaks and rising infection levels so this represented “a welcome relief and will provide a real boost for the sector as we learn to live with Covid”.

He added: “Most importantly, the continuation of free PPE will continue to help better protect some of society’s most vulnerable.”

The Government provides GP practices with fluid resistant surgical masks in the free PPE scheme, so GPs have to buy their own higher grade PPE to protect staff where they feel this is warranted.

The DHSC said it is also developing an improved platform for the procurement of PPE, which will be quicker and easier to use and is currently being tested by health and social care providers. After a trial launch, the new PPE portal will be rolled out to all eligible users from April 2022.