GP access to Covid-19 personal protective equipment (PPE) through the Government’s central portal has been extended until at least the end of June.
NHS England told GPs in a recent primary care bulletin that the Department for Health and Social Care had made the decision to extend the scheme ‘as the largest vaccination programme in the UK’s history begins’.
There will be a review in April to determine the central provision of PPE beyond June, the DHSC has said.
The extension ‘will ensure frontline and wider public service workers can continue to access rigorously tested and high-quality PPE’, the NHS England bulletin said.
‘Primary care providers should continue to access Covid-19 PPE via DHSC PPE portal.’
GPs have previously been told they will be given a deadline of 5 February to submit claims to receive long-awaited reimbursement for Covid-19 PPE, purchased before the central portal was set up.
The period in which practices can submit their claims ‘will open as soon as possible, the DHSC guidance added.
Practices can claim for ‘PPE purchased where such items could not be supplied centrally’, the DHSC said, however PPE bought after 31 December is not covered because central supplies have now been ‘fully extended’.
The news comes as the doctor leaders have called for PPE guidance to be updated and made more stringent in primary care settings, in light of growing evidence into how the virus spreads and greater access to equipment.