- Kent and Medway LMC warns its GPs are struggling to secure necessary PPE
- Local GP warns this could impede development of covid-19 hot hubs
The group representing GPs in Kent has warned none of its practices have received adequate personal protective equipment through central stocks and passed a motion condemning the “shambolic situation”.
The move came amid local concerns the lack of PPE could impede the development of coronavirus “hot hubs”.
Kent and Medway Local Medical Committee wrote to all the area’s MPs last week about the PPE shortage.
The letter said: “To date, we are not aware of any GP practice that has received adequate supplies of appropriate PPE to comply with [Public Health England’s guidelines] from central stock. Specifically, the recommended eye protection is unavailable to GPs from the central stock.”
The LMC also passed a motion which condemned the “shambolic situation” and called for health and social care staff to be provided with PPE in line with the World Health Organisation’s guidelines.
One Kent GP, who asked not to be named, told HSJ the ongoing shortage could impede the development of coronavirus hot hubs.
“We have been wheeling, dealing, scrounging and sharing but the NHS has done nothing. Hot hubs can’t operate without PPE,” the GP said.
Hot hubs are supposed to see patients who have covid-19 symptoms and need to be assessed for other health problems. The appointment-only hubs normally cover several GP practices or a primary care network. As GPs will see patients face-to-face, they will need PPE.
The GP said they were trying to obtain PPE supplies through the central helpline for two weeks, but to no avail.
Instead, they were forced to obtain a small amount of masks and aprons from other NHS organisations, while local businesses had donated gloves, schools had 3D printed visors and a volunteer had made scrubs. They added other practices in their PCN had faced similar problems.
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesman said: “We are working around the clock to ensure PPE is delivered to those on the front-line of this global pandemic. Every single GP practice has received a delivery and the NHS continues to work closely with practices in Kent and Medway to support them to access the appropriate equipment.”
The spokesman added: “Our stockpiles and planning have allowed us to deliver nearly one billion pieces of protective equipment so far and there is a 24-hour NHS-run helpline where NHS and social care workers can call to report supply disruption.”
Updated 12:26 April 21 to refine definiotn of hot hub work
Letter from Kent and Medway LMC, DHSC statement