Extension of free PPE for adult social care sector

January 14, 2022

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has announced the extension of free PPE for the adult social care sector – until 31st March 2023.

Throughout October 2021, the Government conducted a public consultation on whether to extend the central, free provision of all items of PPE provided to the health and care sector for a further year.

The consultation received 5,267 consultation responses:

  • 65% on behalf of organisations.
  • 35% from individuals.

The main sectors responding to the consultation were:

  • Social care (37% of responses).
  • Primary care (36%).
  • Community health care (8%).

Overall, the consultation responses showed that the overwhelming majority of health and care providers are strongly in favour of the option to extend the provision of free PPE.

Although the proportion of respondents not in favour of extending free PPE was meaningfully smaller (4%), 87% of wholesalers and suppliers indicated that they were not in favour of free PPE being extended.

Responding to the extension of PPE for the sector, Professor Martin Green OBE, Chief Executive of Care England, said, ‘We are pleased that the Government has listened to Care England in extending the offer of free PPE. The sector is currently contending with a multitude of issues against a backdrop of outbreaks and rising infection levels, so this represents a welcome relief and will provide a real boost for the sector as we learn to live with covid. Most importantly, the continuation of free PPE will continue to help better protect some of society’s most vulnerable.’

The DHSC previously committed to providing free PPE to the sector until 31 March 2022 and launched a consultation in October 2021 on whether to extend this offer for a further year.

Care England’s response to the consultation highlighted that free PPE via a centralised mechanism had been an enormous win for Government and the potential return to a situation similar to March 2020, when there were huge challenges in accessing PPE, would be a retrograde step in the management of the ongoing pandemic.

Martin Green added, ‘This is a positive step forward in the Government’s response to aiding the sector, but this must be accompanied by further measures, including a comprehensive solution to the ongoing workforce pressures being felt by the sector. The adult social care workforce is our biggest resource and must be recognised and valued as such.’

Visit the UK Government website to read the consultation in full.

In other news, a new survey published by the National Care Forum (NCF) reveals that the impact of the Omicron variant and the limitations of Government support on the frontline, is mounting the pressure faced by the social care sector.

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