Letter from Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Care Jeanne Freeman about PPE

Dear Colleague,

The safety of our health and social care workforce is an absolute priority of the Scottish Government and it is vital that workers have absolute clarity on which PPE they should wear in which setting or scenario. That is why I wanted to write to you to provide you with an update of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) availability for staff across the health and social care system.

We will be issuing almost eight million items of PPE stock in the coming week to support Primary Care and Social Care. Work continues as an absolute priority to source further PPE to ensure there continues to be an appropriate supply for all our health and social care workforce.

We monitor our supply stock, orders and delivery timelines daily and against growing demand and I can confirm we currently have adequate stock of PPE, equating to six weeks’ worth of hospital stock for the most critical items. Additional orders are continuously placed with the most recent being a further supply of FFP3 and IIR masks.

From the 30 March we introduced a number of additional steps to ensure the swift delivery of PPE to those who need it. We now have 4 delivery and distribution routes covering hospital, primary and community care, social care and the SAS. PPE supplies for pharmacy are delivered through the medicine distribution network.

We have a new dedicated email address for staff, MSPs or members of the public to raise specific supply issues. This is covid-19-health-PPE@gov.scot It will be monitored continuously and allow us to act to resolve any specific supply issues more quickly.

All of the supply and distribution of PPE follows the clinical guidance on what is required in which clinical situation or caring scenario. HPS and our Chief Nursing Officer have produced further clear information and info graphics which will be published this week and communicated directly with staff through a number of different platforms.

We are continuing to work alongside carer organisations to make sure carers have access to the right advice to help protect them are and their loved ones during this challenging period. We also know that some carers may require protective equipment should the person they are caring for be symptomatic of coronavirus. We are currently working to identify the most effective routes to direct them to the support they need.

The diagram in Annex A shows the supply routes for the four categories of health or social care provider. [See Page 4 of this attachment]

Hospital – A Single Point of Contact (SPoC) within each health board is managing coordination of PPE available on site, and ordering more as required. This system appears to be working well with decision making being quicker due to having a SPoC in place. There is a daily call with the health board contact, National Procurement and Scottish Government where issues can be raised.

Primary Care – Currently GPs contact their local Health Board SPoC to order more PPE or arrange delivery of orders. To supplement this, a new supply route is being set up to do a proactive delivery of 8 weeks’ worth of stock to each GP practice. This will be delivered to 8 hub locations, and then direct deliveries to c. 1,000 GP practices. This will begin on Monday and all deliveries will be complete by 3 April.

Social Care supply – A social care triage hub has now been operational for one week, and this is being scaled up to improve delivery to social care providers. A range of measures have been put in place from 26 March including, additional pickers to prepare orders and additional drivers in both volume and extended delivery hours.

Alongside boosting capacity within the social care triage hub, a proactive approach is being developed in parallel. This will be deliveries of PPE to local cluster points for onward distribution or collection by social care providers. This will be in place from week commencing 30 March. The supplies will be accessible to all Care Inspectorate registered social care providers, unpaid carers, personal assistants, non-registered services providing a social care support service with roles that have a need for PPE, and hospices. There will be up to 70 cluster points across the country – these are being identified and may be schools, community centres, or other appropriate locations.

The SSSC and NES have developed a core PPE training package for social care for those who are being redeployed to care roles, and for volunteers. Scottish Ambulance Service supply – Deliveries are made direct from National Procurement to two agreed locations in the central belt which a SAS SPoC manages. This process has not changed from the previous approach and has continued to strengthen as it beds in.

I would be grateful if you could share this information with your members.

Once again, I am thankful for all the hard work each and every one of you and your members are doing to support the people of Scotland in these difficult times. Let me also stress that should you have any concerns on this or any other matter, I hope you will not hesitate to contact me directly.

Kind regards,

JEANE FREEMAN

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