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The waiting game

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)

  • Work requiring PPE will require QOF suspension / appraisal suspension / CQC suspension and recompense for lost QOF work so we can pay are staff as we'll seemingly also be paying large amounts of sick pay

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  • Cobblers

    The actual audacity of not providing valid PPE to front line primary care has now been vaguely resolved but far, far, too late. Operation Stable Door is right. This Covid-19 is out there in numbers, containment is not now possible. And remember the incubation period varies but around 5-7 days is average so we are probably a week behind the curve.

    And as anonymous says, FFP2/3 is just placebo protection.

    Hang onto your hats this might get a bit rough. When bog roll overbuying public meets Covid-19 it could break the NHS.

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  • Useless masks tick
    Gloves even though we already have them tick
    Flimsy apron tick
    'We are prepared for all eventualities!'
    Maybe, for a PR examination but not for an extremely transmissible virus.
    I think best plan is to telephone triage and send all patients with severe symptoms directly to hospital. Everyone with mild, moderate symptoms self quarantine at home.

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  • Look up the WHO criteria for PPE for Coronavirus. It is clear that for consulting rooms, there should be medical mask, gloves, gown and eye protection. So we are getting two out of four. Not so happy about this. We need to push for the gown and eye protection ASAP

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  • still not sure what is wrong with "usual advice" (go home, its just a virus) plus/minus self isolate (or whatever PHE says on the day). It IS just a virus, with low mortality. Yes, the most vulnerable will die, like with any illness. From this virus or from something else couple of months later. Publicity disaster for the government, but hardly a threat to national security or nation's health in general.
    Thanks for PPE. What exactly am I expected to do in return?

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  • Could make things worse. Don't they know how many people a week we see with fever, cough or breathing problems? Is this a weekly delivery? And the knowledge that we are getting sub standard PPE for a highly serious category infectious disease fo which there is no cure or natural immunity is likely to upset everyone in general practice. Shocking disappointment. Nothing for ooh of course which is where NHS111 shoves things it wants to move on to hit its targets. Not impressed.

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  • NHS England should be telling the CQC to suspend its inquisitions. And if there are any CQC apparatchiks reading this - don’t think that this appalling decision to continue to harass practices at this very dangerous time is going to be forgotten because it isn’t.
    It is coming back to bite you.

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  • Any practices who are currently preparing for a Cqc visit please let your LMC know.

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  • Pathetic attempt to stop bad publicity.Utterly pathetic too late the horse has definitely ran up the hill we a watching the stable door blowing about in the wind.

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