NHS supply chief accuses hospitals of stockpiling PPE

NHS supply chief accuses hospitals of stockpiling PPE as 24,000 containers delivered with gear inside are ‘held’ rather than returned – while frontline needs up to 60,000 masks a week

  • There has been a 335 per cent rise in demand for disinfectant wipes across NHS
  • Products are being held within hospital estates according to NHS Supply Chain 
  • Military has been assisting the logistics operation and helping the NHS 
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

An NHS chief has claimed that hospitals in the UK are stock piling personal protective equipment in order to make sure their staff have the correct provisions to treat patients with the coronavirus.

Estimates suggest that frontline workers currently need around 60,000 masks a week to treat Covid-19 patients.

It was revealed this week that 24,000 containers used to deliver provisions such as masks, gowns and visors had not been returned.

Rachel Repper, a senior official at the body that buys kit for the health service, the NHS Supply Chain, said trusts across the country appeared to have been hoarding various products including disinfectants.

Staff from the London Fire Brigade sort PPE at a location in south London ahead of its distribution across the capital

An ambulance crew wear PPE as they deal with a patient at Royal London Hospital in London

At a presentation earlier this week she said the fact containers were not being returned and being used to store PPE was concerning.

‘It indicates that there is stockpiling going on locally because that is where product is being held … within hospital estates’.

Ms Repper also claimed there had been a 335 per cent increase in demand for disinfectant wipes, with the demand being ‘significantly higher’ than any consumption model had previously suggested.

Rachel Repper (pictured above) said trusts were hoarding equipment

‘We urge our customers … to really examine the level of ordering that is coming out of your organisations and make sure that it is proportionate to the requirement’, she added.

This is while the chief of defence staff, General Sir Nick Carter, told The Times that supplying PPE across the country was the ‘single greatest logistical challenge he had experienced in 40 years’ of service.

So far the military has been helping the fight against the coronavirus by helping the NHS expand its distribution network from 240 trusts to over 50,000 hospices, care homes and GP surgeries.

According to the chairman of the Health Care Supply Association, Mark Roscrow, NHS workers in Wales are currently getting through ‘three million surgical masks a week’.

Wales accounts for around five per cent of NHS staff and the three million figure from the region indicates the national average could be around 60 million per week.

In order to stretch provisions, the NHS is using smaller amounts of respirator masks and the government had previously urged health officials to make sure they were using provisions correctly in order to avoid waste.

The government has face criticism in recent weeks after medics on the frontline complained of a lack of PPE.

A shipment arriving from Turkey was delayed and it had only been carrying half of the consignment which was supposed to have transported over 400,000 gowns.

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