Intending to curb the spread of COVID-19, the MHRA extended the free PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) scheme, which was initially introduced in March 2020. The scheme intends to protect the health and social care providers, and community pharmacies, and public sector organizations from COVID-19, by providing easy access to PPE in the volume required. The scheme was invoked from section 2 and section 2A of the National Health Service Act 2006, and the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) ensures to provide reliable access to the PPE that is needed for good infection control and to limit the spread of COVID-19.
This scheme was jointly issued by:
- Public Health Wales (PHW)
- The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC)
- Health Protection Scotland (HPS) and National Services Scotland
- Public Health Agency (PHA), Northern Ireland
- NHS England
- Public Health England (PHE)
The free PPE scheme aims to implement the following:
- Control the rapid spread of COVID-19 by preventing cross-infection and other forms of contamination
- Increase the use of PPE for COIVD-19 infection control by including the use of different types of medical or clinical grade PPE (consisting of gloves, masks, eye protection, respirators, aprons, and gowns) from those used before the pandemic
- Procure and supply PPE for health care providers in the face of soaring costs and increased demand for PPE during the pandemic
- Mitigate the spread of COVID-19, ensuring safe working conditions, and protecting the health and social care sectors, patients, clients, and other consumers of the services
In addition, DHSC purchased a significant stock of PPE, and though it initially committed to provide the COVID-19 related PPE free of charge till March 31, 2021, the government extended the provision of free PPE until the end of March 31, 2022, for all health, social care, and public sector workers to support their COVID-19 needs. The scheme covers the following health and social care activities:
- General medical practice
- Dental practice, including orthodontic activities
- Residential care activities (adult and child) and social care activities
- Other healthcare activities like optometry, general practice activities, and activities of dental paramedical personal such as dental hygienists, etc.
- In addition, the scheme includes community pharmacies and healthcare providers.
Finally, the UK authorities consider that providing reliable access to PPE for the health and social care service providers is vital in controlling the spread of COVID-19. Henceforth, as mentioned above, the health and social care providers, community pharmacies, and public sector organizations providing COVID -19 services as part of the state’s prerogative can request to be included in the scheme. It certainly boosts up the market for PPEs in the UK and ensure they are marketed with end-to-end compliance, reach out to an expert like Freyr.