London, Jan 13 (MNN) The UK government said on Thursday that the offer of free Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for frontline health and care staff has been extended until March 31, 2023.
The move follows public consultation, which received over 5,000 responses from across the health and care system, the Department of Health and Social Care said.
“Supporting frontline workers remains a priority for the government and, following a public consultation, National Health Service trusts, primary care and adult social care providers will continue to receive COVID-19 PPE free of charge until March 31, 2023 or until infection prevention control (IPC) guidance is withdrawn or significantly amended. This is to ensure staff and their patients are protected.”
The government is also developing an improved platform for the procurement of PPE that will be quicker and easier to use.
The department said that the health and social care providers have been invited to test-drive the new platform and help design a service that works best for them. The new and improved features will enable quick ordering options and status updates.
“Free, centrally-procured PPE relieves the financial burden of PPE procurement done on an individual basis, and also enables access to quality PPE of a reliable standard.”
Health Minister Edward Argar said: “Throughout the pandemic we have taken swift action to secure the PPE health and social care providers need to ensure staff, patients and residents are protected.
“We are extending the offer of free PPE to help relieve pressure on the health and care system, working hand in hand with providers to develop a new ordering platform that works best for them.”
A public consultation was launched in October 2021 to determine whether to extend the central, free provision of PPE.
Over 5,000 responses were received, from a range of people and organisations, including primary and social care providers, community health care services, and PPE wholesalers and suppliers. A total of 95 per cent of respondents were in favour of extending the offer of free PPE.
Following customer testing and trial launch, the new PPE portal will be rolled out to all eligible users from April.