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The waiting game

GPs can request emergency 72-hour PPE to fill distribution ‘gaps’

GPs can request emergency deliveries of personal protective equipment (PPE) to fill ‘gaps’ in distribution, NHS England has said.

In its latest letter to GPs and commissioners on 27 March, NHS England said its National Supply Disruption Response (NSDR) will issue ‘pre-packed kits’ within 72 hours to tackle ‘immediate short-term issues’.

The packs will include a minimum of 100 Type IIR facemasks, 100 aprons and 100 pairs of gloves.

GPs can raise requests for the kits through the NSDR 24/7 telephone helpline: 0800 915 9964.

The letter added that PPE distribution is one of the issues it is ‘hearing most’ from GPs amid the outbreak of coronavirus (Covid-19).

It said: ‘We are focused on providing swift responses, for example, to meet gaps until scheduled deliveries arrive and until orders with wholesalers through BAU are back up and running.’

Practices who request kits through NSDR must be able to receive the emergency deliveries ‘outside business hours’, it added.

Last week, NHS England claimed that every GP practice in the country has now received a delivery of PPE but GPs in one area said their CCG had told them they had to source their own protective equipment.

It comes as a rapid review set up to provide answers for staff working in primary care has concluded that a standard surgical mask provides similar levels of protection against respiratory viruses to a respirator mask - but only when used with other PPE.


Readers' comments (22)

  • Masks (expired or up to scratch?), aprons and gloves. Somebody has forgotten about the eyes. It is like having a fortress with two wide open doors when someone coughs in your face.

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    It is non compliant with WHO guidance.

    It was once within guidance to set sail on a cross channel ferry with the bow doors open.

    It was once within guidance to clad tower blocks in highly inflammable insulation.

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  • I have called the number 4 times over the last few days.
    I have been advised (in order) to:

    Buy PPE from our usual suppliers

    Obtain PPE from the NHS Supply Chain. Not something we can do as we have no account (guessing most GPs do not either). I went on line and registered for an account. That was denied via email. When I called them , I was informed that they have stopped opening any new accounts.

    Then, I was escalated (if I hear that word one more time...)

    Then, I was called back by someone who said they can organise some basic kit but they did not know where the kit actually came from. I requested gowns, visors and some FFP3 (see resus situation in previous post).

    I was told that that request would be passed on and may be filled if the items are available.

    I then received an automated email stating that my issue had now been "resolved"...

    No mention of 72hrs. No real confidence in the system, even from those on the other end of the phone...
    Perhaps it has improved over night?

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  • Yep. I have seen an unwell child with a deteriorating picture after 4 days (Seen in our car park. I was wearing what PPE I could cobble together including science lab safety specs from the local secondary school and a gown from BSMS (Brighton med school)). Treated for a UTI in the end, not COVID.
    I have also see and taken blood from a symptomatic thyrotoxic patient who needed drug management tweaked. And did the same for a chap in AKI but likely stabalising now.
    My colleagues and I are still doing essential HVs.
    Sure I am doing all I can on the phone - just completed a morning's calls.
    Cancers, kidney disease, other invasive infections, decompensating LTCs aren't taking a holiday during this global pandemic. Patients are doing all they can not to bother us but they still need carers, nurses, CPNs, SWs and GPs - and all of these need decent PPE.

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  • And, not at all heroic while there are many others doing more than I am with less/no protective equipment.

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  • You're the one using the word "hero" in an inappropriate fashion...
    I'm in the job I'm in. Loads of hero friends in the hospitals too - who I genuinely applaud.
    Just saying some decent PPE when you have to see an unwell patient would prevent contagion and more deaths. (GPs will likely be seeing more as this peaks. Not all are appropriate for hospital or telephone advice.)
    That's all.

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  • Philosopher 1 | Doctor in Training

    you might reflect on the fact that over 90% of patient contacts usually come via primary care. if you do not provide us with PROPER ppe (not a glorified bin liner and a paper face mask), more of us in primary care will become ill/isolated, and you will end up having more work diverted to secondary care (where proper ppe also seems to have been diverted)

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  • Philosopher 1 | Doctor in Training-One cannot avoid seeing all patients forever. These are only early days of Covid-19. There is nothing wrong in having the equipment needed to do the job unless you do not value your life and the lives of your family or colleagues. Some GPs prefer seeing patients for different reasons, sometimes due to clinical need rather than dumping on the hospital. A lot of conditions, reviews and diseases are being temporarily pushed back. It is only a matter of time before the demand comes back.
    All trades deserve safety, supportive equipment/tools. Let us not short change and belittle our own profession, unless of course you are from the CQC.

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