Really, what on earth is going on? Today the Health Service Journal reports ,
‘Overwhelming angst’ over delay to Ebay-built Personal Protection Equipment website:
PPE portal for community health and social care organisations was expected to launch in early April
Online system intended to handle most non-acute PPE
Primary care and social care providers currently buying own kit and relying on local resilience forum drops
This PPE portal was proposed as a last resort, because of failures by the National Supply Disruption Response team, that community, primary and social care providers were meant to contact to order Personal Protection Equipment.
Apparently Ebay isn’t up to the job either.
Community, primary and social care providers are still unable to access the online portal set up by Ebay to respond to urgent requests for personal protection equipment. It was supposed to be up and running on 6th April.
But another PPE Exchange website is already up and running, set up for free by the company that built the Eye on Calderdale website
Meanwhile Shoothill, (the company commissioned by Calderdale Council to produce eyeoncalderdale.com – the website for up-to-date information about flooding, weather and traffic disruptions in Calderdale), has built ppeexchange.co.uk free of charge for organisations and manufacturers to hook up so that everyone gets what’s required.
Maybe the national covid-19 supply channel can get behind this? Instead of waiting for Ebay to test and roll out the e commerce system for community health PPE that was supposed to launch on 6 April?
GPs angst and emotion around lack of PPE
The clinical director at a primary care network in England told the Health Service Journal,
“The level of angst and emotion around PPE is just overwhelming, they are feeling vulnerable…..some are going in with a wet tissue over their mouths and staff are getting ill as a result. They are worried about their own health and in terms of managing the situation if they go off sick.
“People are doing what they can with what they’ve got. [The] new ordering system is meant to be going live imminently but if the supply isn’t there, I am not sure how this helps?”
Calderdale GPs desperate for scrubs have turned to a crowdfunded group of sewers, Calderdale GPs Need Scrubs, and to the co-operative, not for profit hackerspace Bridge Rectifier for 3D printed and laser cut face visors.
And Calderdale Council has been faced with the need to buy more Personal Protective Equipment for social care and NHS staff because the national distribution system has so far been ineffective. Together with other West Yorkshire Councils, they have chartered a plane to bring back Personal Protective Equipment from China.
But neither the Council nor Calderdale NHS Commissioners seem to have signed up to the PPE Exchange website.
Covid19 PPE questions for Calderdale NHS Commissioners
I have asked Calderdale Clinical Commissioning Group Governing Body these questions about PPE, in relation to the Covid19 update at their meeting on 23rd April.
Update: Neil Smurthwaite, the Clinical Commissioning Group’s Chief Finance Officer/Deputy Chief Officer, has replied to my questions as follows:
Q: The Covid19 update doesn’t seem to mention Personal Protective Equipment for GPs and community health staff. Is Calderdale Clinical Commissioning Group aware that the shortage of Personal Protective Equipment for GPs and community health staff has led Calderdale GPs to turn to a crowdfunded group of sewers, Calderdale GPs Need Scrubs, for scrubs? And to the co-operative, not for profit hackerspace Bridge Rectifier for 3D printed and laser cut face visors?
A: Calderdale CCG has made funding available to all member GP practices for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) . All five of Calderdale’s Primary Care Networks currently have an adequate supply of PPE. Should an immediate need for PPE arise, the CCG’s contingency plan is to escalate the issue to the West Yorkshire Local Authority Local Resilience Forum and to our NHS England Local Area Team.
Q: Has Calderdale Clinical Commissioning Group signed up to the PPE Exchange website in order to help access Personal Protective Equipment from UK manufacturers?
A: Calderdale CCG has not signed up to the PPE Exchange website, as Calderdale CCG’s member GP practices have not reported a shortage of personal protective equipment.
Q: Is Calderdale Clinical Commissioning Group also aware of the shortage of Personal Protective Equipment for local care homes and home care workers, that led Welcome Independent Living to put out a social media appeal for PPE, which resulted in Tod Morrisons supplying some masks?
A: While the CCG works closely with care homes, it does not have a responsibility for provision of PPE to care and residential homes. We have therefore not been made formally aware of a shortage of PPE in this area.
Q: Is Calderdale Clinical Commissioning Group also aware that the Personal Protective Equipment problem for care workers is not just availability, but affordability? As a registered care provider, Welcome Independent Care received an initial supply of 300 masks from Calderdale Council – enough to last three days. But they cannot afford to buy more, because they have found that masks cost around £1.50 each, but Welcome Independent Living only make a profit of £1 per care call. Many calls require two carers, meaning that if each wears a mask, that costs of £3 per call. (Luckily, they say they are currently ok for masks, as they are due another delivery from Calderdale Council on Friday.)
A: While the CCG works closely with care homes, it does not have a responsibility for provision of PPE to care and residential homes. This issue would be better raised with Calderdale Council. The Government has announced a range of support packages to organisations, including financial support for such additional costs. We are working with the Local Authority to support our health and social care market on all aspects.
Q: What is Calderdale Clinical Commissioning Group doing to get adequate supplies of Personal Protective Equipment to Calderdale GPs, community health staff, care homes and home care workers?
Calderdale CCG has made funding available to all member GP practices for Personal Protective Equipment. None of our member practices have reported a shortage of personal protective equipment. Through our partnership working the CCG is assured our partners are doing as much as possible to secure and provide PPE to all organisations. However, the CCG does not commission community health staff, care homes and home care workers. Questions around these workers would be better raised with the relevant organisations. The CCG with Public Health have been clear in communicating the national guidelines on the appropriate use of PPE in all health and care settings.