The Healthcare Distribution Association alerted the community pharmacy sector to the fact that the stocks of Public Health England (PHE) PPE masks recently supplied by the Association’s member wholesalers to pharmacies, for staff use only, have now almost completely run out.
HDA member companies are awaiting a new sale event to be announced by Public Health England.
In the meantime, the Department of Health & Social Care has told HDA:
“We have extended our PPE supply route to Local Resilience Forums (LRFs) to help distribute stock to organisations outside of the NHS supply chain who have the highest need clinically and other services that would have a high priority need for PPE including Pharmacists.
“Over 7 million more items of PPE have been delivered over the last week to the LRFs identified as being in the highest need of resupply. We will continue to make drops of PPE for distribution by the LRFs to meet some priority need until the new e-commerce solution is operational.
“We will continue to make releases to wholesalers when stocks permit.
“If providers are unable to access PPE through these routes and have an urgent need, they should contact the National Supply Disruption Response (NSDR) helpline to request emergency support. The 24/7 freephone number is 0800 915 9964.”
In other news, the UK government has flown over 22 million pieces of PPE and more than 1000 ventilators to the NHS and Social Care Services from China over the last three weeks.
The British Embassy in Beijing worked with the Department of Health to procure and source these donations of medical equipment from China.
The equipment was shipped between 2 April and 25 April in 20 flights operated by passenger airlines including British Airways and Virgin Atlantic, as well as various cargo operators and delivery specialists. The China Civil Aviation Authority granted the UK special permission to allow passenger routes to take cargo for the shipment.
Dame Barbara Woodward, British Ambassador to China, said:
“I am delighted that we have been able to deliver huge quantities of lifesaving equipment for the NHS and our social care services.
“Our strong trade relationship with our Chinese partners has meant that we have been able to source the right equipment and we have seen both UK and Chinese firms contribute to our joint fight against COVID-19.
“We are working round the clock to bolster the NHS supplies and save lives and we are seeking further deliveries as a matter of urgency.”
Almost 2.5 million of the PPE equipment is donated by Chinese organisations including British Chinese Community Zhejiang UK Association. The biggest donor so far is Bank of China, whose over 1.8 million pieces of PPE and 20 ventilators have already reached the UK. Guys and St Thomas hospital and Age UK have also received the medical supplies donated by Chinese organisations.
David Lawson, Chief Procurement Officer at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust said:
“We are very grateful for donations from the British Chinese Community and for the support of the British Embassy in Beijing, both of which have helped to ensure a steady and timely supply of PPE and other vital medical equipment to help the NHS response to COVID-19.”
Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director of Age UK, said:
“We are grateful to the people of Changsha for their kind support and donation to Age UK during this challenging time.
“The masks we received will be given to our local Age UKs which are providing practical support in their communities, including helping people who are recovering from the virus to leave hospital and go back to their homes, and will help to keep staff and older people safe.”
This article is being shared under the Open Government Copyright licence.