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Credit: Simon Davis/DFID

To help meet demands for personal protective equipment (PPE), the UK Government has signed deals with more than 100 new suppliers from around the world as well as ramped up domestic production.

This significant boost in PPE supply is designed to help meet demand in the health and social care sectors, which faces unprecedented pressure due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

To help frontline staff get the PPE they need, the government has signed deals with more than 100 new suppliers worldwide, including securing a further 3.7 billion gloves to help meet the expected demand.

In addition, the government is also supporting industry to significantly boost domestic production with companies signing contracts to manufacture over two billion items of PPE in the UK.

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This includes:

  • a deal for 70 million face masks agreed with company Honeywell this month
  • Don & Low manufacturing 12 million metres squared of fabric for gowns over the next six months
  • Jaguar Land Rover manufacturing 14,000 visors a week for healthcare staff

As demand for PPE hit record levels during the global pandemic, government and industry joined forces to build a new PPE distribution network. With help from the Armed Forces, the NHS Supply Chain now delivers PPE to 58,000 settings including care homes, hospices and community organisations, says the UK Government.

Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said: “Last month, I set a national challenge to ensure we continue to supply enough PPE to those on the frontline of this battle.

“We have now signed deals with over 100 suppliers across the world to secure more PPE, and at the same we have ramped up domestic production. We have now ordered 2 billion pieces of PPE from homegrown firms which is also great news for jobs and the economy, and over 3 billion pieces from abroad.

“Worldwide demand for PPE has never been higher so I want to thank Paul [Lord Deighton] for his work in ensuring that PPE continues to be delivered to where it is needed.”

Since the start of the outbreak, over 1.48 billion items of PPE have been delivered to the frontline in England, and tens of millions more items distributed in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.

Alongside dramatically ramping up PPE supply in the UK, GPs and small care homes can now also register on the PPE Portal – a new online portal, which the UK Government developed in partnership with eBay, to help primary and social care providers to order critical PPE.

The PPE Portal has been tested with the sector and is now being scaled up nationally over the coming weeks. During this phase of the roll-out, GPs and small residential and domiciliary social care services will be invited to register on the portal.

According to the Department of Health and Social Care, it is focusing on small care providers initially because research shows that they are less likely to be registered with wholesalers, so it is important that they can access critical PPE quickly, if they need it.

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