A massive 32 billion items of personal protective equipment are on order.
Billions of items of personal protective equipment (PPE) are being stockpiled ahead of winter and the second wave of COVID-19.
The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has revealed in its new PPE strategy that four-month worth of personal protective equipment will be in place from November.
A massive 32 billion items of PPE, such as face masks, visors, and gowns, are currently on order.
The news comes after a severe nationwide shortage of PPE during the first-wave saw staff being forced to reuse single-use equipment.
Health unions have admitted they are skeptical about the promises made by the Government.
A triple whammy.
Dr Chaand Nagpaul, BMA council chair, said: “With a second wave upon us, health and care workers must be properly protected this time. There must be no repeat of the terrible examples of insufficient quantities of PPE”.
“Given the NHS is likely to be hit by a triple whammy of rising Covid cases, winter pressures, and the additional work involved in dealing with the backlog of care, however, we need urgent assurance that this stockpile of PPE will be sufficient.”
Dr. Nagpaul continued to say that healthcare workers “will not forget the assurances they were given of the previous stockpile being sufficient at the onset of the pandemic, which resulted in a very different reality of acute shortages.”
“Although the Strategy speaks of a four month stockpile, the BMA also believes that a longer duration will be necessary given the escalating spread of the infection and that plans should be put in place for continued supplies.”
A terrible time.
Official figures suggest that over 650 health and social care workers have died of COVID-19 since March.
Unison’s head of health Sara Gorton adds; “It’s been a terrible time and with infections on the rise, the pandemic is far from over.
“Health staff and care workers need reassurances there’ll be no repeats of the nightmares with safety kit shortages they faced in the spring.
“It’s good most protective equipment will now be coming from UK firms, so supplies will be guaranteed and won’t have to be shipped as far.
“Other aspects of staff welfare must also be tackled to increase safety and reduce the pressures. They all need proper breaks and the chance to take leave.”