All GP practices can register to the eBay PPE portal starting this week, the Government has announced, as the service, developed alongside the NHS and Department of Health, is rolled out nationally.
GPs and small residential care homes will be invited to join the portal over the coming weeks, where they will be able to order ‘critical’ PPE from the NHS’ central supplies for free.
The national roll-out follows trials involving 1,300 GP practices and social care homes and testing by programme partners, including Royal Mail.
The scheme focuses on smaller care providers, which account for half of all care provision, as ‘they seem to be less likely to be registered with wholesalers’, the Government said.
This comes as the Government on Tuesday (26 May) announced it had signed deals with more than 100 global PPE suppliers – a move it expects will ‘help meet demand in the health and social sectors’.
Government has also signed contracts with British companies including Jaguar Land Rover and Honeywell to manufacture two billion protective items, such as facemasks, visors, gowns and aprons.
NHS Confederation Chief Executive Niall Dickson said: ‘The fact that we will be producing significant home-produced PPE is a significant step towards a more secure supply. We have been too reliant on overseas imports and especially on the Chinese market.
‘The move towards a more diverse supply chain and the creation of a domestic market is the obvious and correct strategy. Products made here will inevitably be more expensive, but we need that security for at least some of our supplies.’
Pulse sister title Healthcare Leader previously reported that GP practices and care homes have been forced to buy PPE at heavily inflated prices, from profiteering businesses purchasing in bulk from suppliers.