PPE supply warning amid second wave concerns

Urgent clarity over the governance and distribution of vital personal protective equipment (PPE) is needed in the event of a second wave of coronavirus, MPs have found.

Cllr Ian Hudspeth, Chairman of the LGA’s Community Wellbeing Board, said councils and social care providers need concrete assurances about ongoing supplies of quality PPE, following the report by the Public Accounts Committee.

“We have been calling for a clear long-term strategy for the sustainable supply of PPE to be published,” he said.

“Staff working in care homes and in people’s homes have been doing an incredible job in extremely challenging circumstances. They deserve to know that they will have the equipment, resources and support they need to continue doing so to ensure their safety and those they are caring for, at all times.”

The report comes as the Prime Minister announced that the NHS will receive an extra £3 billion to protect it against a possible second wave of COVID-19. Scientists have warned the UK could see about 120,000 new coronavirus deaths in a second wave of infections this winter in a “reasonable worst-case scenario”.

LGA Chairman Cllr James Jamieson said the Government is right to try to ensure the health service is as prepared as possible this winter, but that there cannot be a sustainable NHS without a sustainable adult social care system.

“You cannot protect one and not the other. Adult social care services remain on the frontline of this crisis and need parity of esteem with the NHS. We urge the Government to also further address the immediate financial pressures facing the sector.”

Cllr Jamieson said investment to ensure adult social care is also ready and able to cope with a second wave, alongside adequately funded public health services, would be “of enormous benefit to our much-loved NHS”.


Devolving skills support

Time for fiscal devolution?