UK government extends free PPE to health & care sector




In response to COVID-19, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has provided free access to centrally procure personal protective equipment (PPE) to NHS trusts, adult social care providers, as well as primary care and some other healthcare providers. DHSC has committed to providing this central, free provision of COVID-19 PPE until March 31, 2022. 

Throughout October 2021, public consultation was conducted to determine whether to extend the central, free provision of all items of PPE provided to the health and care sector for a further year. More than 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. 95 per cent of respondents were in favour of extending the offer of free PPE, the UK government said on a press release.

DHSC has recruited users to test a new platform that will replace the current PPE portal. This is a representative group of existing portal users from across all sectors, experience levels and users’ needs. User research began in January.

In response to COVID-19, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has provided free access to centrally procure personal protective equipment (PPE) to NHS trusts, adult social care providers, as well as primary care and some other healthcare providers. DHSC has committed to providing this central, free provision of COVID-19 PPE until March 31, 2022.

“If DHSC continues to supply PPE free of charge to the adult social sector until March 2022 (and beyond) our business is at risk of going into administration or at the best laying off staff. We are concerned that the decision of DHSC to continue to intervene in the market for the supply of PPE will have a lasting and detrimental impact on an existing and future competitive market and our business. These decisions have resulted in significant financial losses to us,” a PPE supplier said.

“The market for PPE has increased exponentially as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic. The supply of free PPE by DHSC is for COVID-19 PPE only. Health and care providers are expected to purchase their business-as-usual PPE from other sources including wholesalers and suppliers. However, we have recognised the concerns that wholesalers and suppliers have raised in the consultation about the impact on their businesses and the people they employ,” the release added.

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