Last reviewed 6 April 2021

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has confirmed that it is extending the provision of free personal protective equipment (PPE) to health and social care providers to continue to protect the health and wellbeing of health and social workers as well as their patients and clients.

The Government said the provision of free PPE will support the roadmap out of lockdown whilst the vaccine programme continues to reach more people.

The continued provision of PPE can be ordered from the Government website and will ensure frontline workers can access “rigorously tested and high-quality PPE”.

The Government warned that the vaccine is not a “silver bullet” and the care sector must maintain high levels of infection prevention and control and therefore PPE will play a huge role in this.

Care England said that the announcement secures the ability for the system to “respond nimbly” to the ever-changing Covid-19 landscape.

Care England Chief Executive Professor Martin Green said PPE was one of the main barriers in a care setting to limiting the spread of Covid-19. He added: “PPE also plays a critical role in the wider Covid-19 response, such as enabling visiting to care homes.”

He added: “We do not know what the winter this year will bring but free, rigorously tested PPE gives providers a chance to be prepared.”

National Care Forum Chief Executive Vic Rayner announced on Twitter: “Very reassuring to have this commitment at the beginning of the new year, helping with planning and supporting infection prevention and control measures.”

The Government PPE portal is available here.

Meanwhile, a new report, Covid-19: Government Procurement and Supply of Personal Protective Equipment, published by the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee, has outlined the nature of PPE supply shortages in the social care sector during the first wave of the pandemic. This report is available here.