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GP practices will see faulty face masks replaced by the Government

GPs will see unsafe face masks which they have had to throw away replaced and the ‘issue is now resolved’, the Department of Health and Social Care has said.

This comes as Pulse revealed earlier this week that the DHSC issued a notice to practices to dispose of batches of out-of-date face masks which posed a ‘risk to staff’. The alert said the masks could potentially harm the user if the foam strip on the mask flakes and enters the mouth or airways.

The DHSC told Pulse that practices which have had their stocks affected by having to dispose of faulty masks should contact the emergency supply line who will arrange a delivery of replacement masks if required.

The alert concerned 81 batches of Type IIR face masks but asked how many items had been shipped to practices, the DHSC said it could not confirm an exact number but expected it to be low.

It comes as the BMA has branded the Government’s failure to supply GP practices with safe PPE a ‘national scandal’, however according to the DHSC the issue is now ‘resolved’.

A DHSC spokesperson said: ‘The safety of health, care and all frontline staff is our top priority.

‘We were made aware of a defect with some Cardinal Health Type IIR surgical masks. Last week we issued advice to health and care providers to check if their stock included these masks and to dispose of them.

‘The issue is now resolved.’

They added that the Government’s PPE stockpile was built up in 2009 in preparation for a potential flu pandemic in the UK.

BMA council chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul has said the Government must ensure they replace the masks with in-date items, rather than any that have been re-dated.

In March, 20 regions were found to have received batches of face masks with a 2016 expiry date hidden by a ‘2021’ sticker.

However, the Government defended the move to supply the masks to practices, saying that they had been tested.

  • Identify, stop using and immediately quarantine all lots relating to BWM028 of the Cardinal Type IIR masks.
  • All stock should be disposed of locally.
  • If you have a shortage of Type IIR masks, please notify NSDR on 0800 915 9964 who will arrange an emergency delivery if required.
  • For all general enquiries for the PPE Dedicated Channel, call Customer Services on 0800 876 6802.

Source: PPE Dedicated Supply Channel alert