• Urgent PPE drops expected in the coming days
  • Stocks to be used only when there is “pressing” need
  • Supplies not intended for acute trusts or ambulance services

Adult social care services are to receive millions of personal protective equipment products following a national audit of PPE, HSJ can reveal.

The government will deliver more than 30 million items to local resilience forums in the coming days, for distribution among social care and other front-line services, according to a letter seen by HSJ.

The stock should not be sent to acute trusts or ambulance services, the letter, from health and social care secretary Matt Hancock and housing, communities and local government secretary Robert Jenrick, stated.

Describing an “urgent need” for PPE in front-line services, Mr Hancock and Mr Jenrick asked local planners to distribute this latest batch of stock “only where there is a clear and pressing need”.

Asking planners to follow Public Health England’s guidance on PPE use, they wrote: “We suggest that you prioritise the local allocation of PPE to ensure those who currently have close unavoidable contact with confirmed or suspected covid-19 cases [have supplies].”

The letter also asked local resilience forums to submit new PPE supply data via a survey first distributed last Monday. Military planners asked local teams to detail the volume and usage rate of several coronavirus-related products across a range of local organisations, including NHS trusts, mortuary services and police. 

Major PPE shortages have been reported across health and social care services in recent weeks, with trust procurement leads describing inadequate and unpredictable deliveries.

Retail logistics firm Clipper Logistics took over the supply of coronavirus-related products in conjunction with the military and NHS Supply Chain at the end of March. The stocks were previously distributed by NHSSC and logistics firm Unipart, who will continue to deliver “business as usual” products.

Following an initial focus on acute trusts, the new supply channel is expected to start shipping PPE to community organisations via Royal Mail this week.

Towards the end of last month, the Local Government Association and Association of Directors of Adult Social Services pressed the government to provide PPE “urgently”, adding that inadequate protection puts staff, their families and their communities at risk.

The news comes after the tragic death of 13 residents at a Glasgow care home amid a suspected covid-19 outbreak.