There is a desperate need for more personal protective equipment for frontline council and care services across the country, the Local Government Association says today.
The LGA has been pressing the Government to ensure adequate supplies of PPE reach those who need it as soon as possible. A one-off emergency drop of PPE is in the process of being delivered to Local Resilience Forums across the country to distribute to care staff and other frontline workers.
These drops will provide some much-needed immediate relief but a sustainable supply is desperately needed as they will not be enough to meet demand. Some councils are also growing hugely frustrated that deliveries to their area have not yet arrived and continue to be delayed.
It comes as councils are having to appeal to local businesses, manufacturers and other organisations to see if they can help supply unused or produce any new PPE such as gloves, aprons, goggles and masks. For example:
- Surrey County Council has warned of a limited supply of PPE coming into the county and has appealed for any businesses — including tattoo artists and beauty salons — who can provide them with vital equipment.
- Croydon Council has appealed for help from local firms for PPE to reach the hundreds of carers that are delivering vital health and social care support to residents.
- The West Midlands Combined Authority has urged the region’s manufacturing companies to help make medical masks, gloves, googles and aprons. Businesses like Jaguar Land Rover have already started production of plastic visors, goggles and other PEE, but it is thought there is more untapped potential in the region.
- A school in Luton responded to the local council’s appeal by quickly developing a secure and comfortable visor, made from lightweight materials with a replaceable screen for repeated use, with batches now being delivered to local health and care staff.
Cllr Ian Hudspeth, Chairman of the LGA’s Community Wellbeing Board, said: “Social care staff and other council workers are at the forefront of responding to the coronavirus. They are doing an incredible and dangerous job in extremely challenging circumstances.
“We have been working with the Government to ensure more PPE is available for everyone who needs it, including those working in home care and care homes. We are relieved to know that extra supplies have begun arriving across the country but hugely concerned that deliveries in some areas continued to be delayed. All areas need their deliveries to arrive with the utmost urgency.
“Councils and care providers not only need good quality supplies of this PPE immediately but also in the days and weeks ahead. It is vital that even more of this vital protective equipment is available to those who need it, including our valuable social care staff, refuse collectors and others providing essential local services.
“Ongoing, consistent and reliable supplies of PPE is needed for all our critical workers, including those in social care but also other parts of the local government workforce who may need it, for councils to be able to support the national effort in beating this disease.”
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