Personal protective equipment (PPE) is vital for preventing and controlling the spread of infection in health and care settings. It needs to be readily available, effective and supported by clear guidance covering the circumstances of its use. In our report Overview of the UK government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic we signal an intention to report on how government has managed risks created by its response to the crisis, including with respect to procurement and supply chains for items such as PPE.
This report will examine the preparedness and response in the supply of PPE in England, including the scale of and reasons for shortfalls in supply. It will cover:
- How PPE was supplied to NHS and social care organisations before the COVID-19 pandemic started
- What government did, between the pandemic emerging in other countries and arriving in the UK, to prepare for the provision of PPE in the NHS and social care organisations
- How government responded when problems arose in the supply of PPE
- The scale of problems in the availability of PPE throughout the emergency
This work will sit alongside our specific work on government procurement during the pandemic and increasing the number of ventilators available to the NHS in response to COVID-19.