Health and care providers in Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin have been overwhelmed by the generous offers of homemade personal protective equipment (PPE) from members of the public and want to thank everyone for their kind support over recent weeks.
However, all care organisations, from hospitals to care homes, have to ensure PPE used by their staff meets approved quality and safety standards.
Nicky Jacques, Chief Officer of Shropshire Partners in Care, said: “On behalf of the care sector, we are so grateful for every single offer of support and hope people understand that, in order to properly protect the individuals we care for and our staff, all donations of PPE have to meet the right standards.
“This means that whilst we are really heartened to see such levels of kindness, care providers unfortunately cannot accept or use homemade PPE that doesn't meet the required safety standards.”
Dave Evans, Joint Accountable Officer for NHS Shropshire CCG and NHS Telford and Wrekin CCG, said: “The challenges around PPE have been widely publicised and we appreciate the response from the public. An increase in demand for both PPE and non-PPE products has put the usual supply chain to deliver such products under significant pressure.
“To support organisations, as a local health and care system, we have worked together to develop a way of checking stock levels across the system at any one time and launched a new Emergency PPE Supply Helpline. The helpline is there to support the PPE needs of frontline workers across the county such as GPs, care homes, domiciliary care providers and personal assistants who have been unable to source supplies through their usual routes.”
GPs, care homes, domiciliary care providers and personal assistants can access the service by completing a PPE request form online.
Local businesses have also been keen to offer their support and the Shropshire Healthcare Procurement Service (SHPS), hosted by the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Hospital Trust, has set up a process to boost usual supplies and manage the many kind offers on behalf of the system.
Paula Davies, Head of Procurement at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust, said: “We have received numerous offers from organisations to make and supply PPE.
“Whilst we are extremely grateful for these offers from local businesses, like all organisations providing health and social care services, we have a duty of care to ensure PPE used by our colleagues meets the technical specifications to protect our staff and the people they care for from infection. To support this, we are asking businesses who wish to produce or donate PPE to check the specifications before contacting us.”