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GPs go forth

NHS England to distribute free coronavirus protective equipment to GP practices

Exclusive NHS England will provide GP practices with personal protective equipment (PPE) from this week, free of charge, Pulse has learned.

Under draft plans, practices would be provided with 300 fluid repellent masks, 400 aprons and 300 pairs of gloves as they work to limit the spread of the coronavirus outbreak.

NHS England told Pulse the final number of items is being determined, with a letter to be sent to practices later today.

They confirmed the supply is funded by the NHS and will be provided at no charge to the practice.

It comes as the Government announced that it is considering drafting in medical students to help the NHS deal with the Covid-19 outbreak.

A draft letter that has been circulated by some doctors, seen by Pulse, said: ‘GP surgeries should start to see a push of PPE to them via couriers this week.

‘They will receive:

1. 300 fluid repellent masks

2. 400 aprons

3. 300 pairs of gloves’

It added: ‘Larger practices will receive a second push once the first round is completed.

‘It has been confirmed that this supply is funded by the NHS and at no charge to the practice.’

Last month, Public Health England (PHE) advised GPs to wear face masks and other PPE if they are in contact with a patient with suspected coronavirus.

It followed a call from the BMA for NHS England to supply PPE to practices amid reports that the equipment was in short supply.

Under the Government’s coronavirus action plan released earlier this week, retired GPs may be called back to the workforce to tackle the pandemic, non-urgent care may be delayed and health professionals will have powers to detain people in quarantine areas if they suspect them of having the virus.

The CQC yesterday announced that it will continue to inspect GP practices despite the Government preparing to tackle a major Covid-19 emergency.

Some 90 coronavirus cases have now been announced in the UK.

The Government is preparing for a worst-case scenario where 80% of the population get the virus and one-fifth of the workforce is off work at the peak of the outbreak.

Related images

  • coronavirus pandemic facemask getty rf

Readers' comments (31)

  • Vinci Ho

    The real issues are
    (1) Criteria of using PPE
    (2) The PHE guidance where PPE was mentioned , was primarily written for hospital colleagues . The type of PPE also matters as FFP3 respirator is used in hospital , for instance .
    (3) Training of how to put on and take off PPE :
    Watch this video from PHE on YouTube :

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  • I agree with the above; also the masks (FFP3) need to be fit tested. How will this be done and by whom?

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  • Hi
    Add to Vinci Ho list (4)How to dispose of the used PPE equipment.

    another training video link from YouTube

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  • it would be nice to know just exactly what is going to be expected of GPs given that we are now going to be issued with PPE. Just what exactly can GPs actually do with Corona Virus?

    For example :- Do we tell asthmatics that they they should continue with their medication? How do people who are infected at home know when hospital admission becomes necessary?

    I do feel that, as professionals, we are not being given the information we require fast enough.

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  • A very shrewd guess from Dad's Army ; when the numbers really hit the fan the PPE may be for GP home visits to breathless frailing people with multi - morbidity??

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  • Generous to be provided with equipment for presumably unpaid work. It is interesting that 111 seems to have collapsed when people have been to contact them. In the past in any health crisis ,people were told to contact their GP and we just had to grin and bear it!!

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  • Operation STABLE DOOR.

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  • I assume PPE is to protect us because we will now likely be seeing covid 19 cases. Thing is ---how do we distinguish a covid19 virus from another URTI etc. No easy access to test kits
    no longer can we say--just a virus go home and take it easy you'll get better

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  • On the plus side -good to get some PPE.
    On the minus side -not sure why GPs only need FFP2 (i.e. surgical) masks, aprons and normal gloves -whereas hospital staff need gowns, long gloves FFP3 masks sometimes coveralls and visors.

    Obviously GPs are lower risk or more replaceable.

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  • To waste money on ineffective PPE is a disgrace!
    Also an insult to the GPs and patients who are misled by it!
    No protection has been shown for FFP2, (or 3 for that matter)!!!

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