Extending PPE access to all social care providers

Supplies to be given to unpaid and family carers and personal assistants.

Everyone who provides social care will have access to appropriate PPE under new arrangements announced by the Health Secretary.

From Monday 27 April, local Hubs will distribute PPE supplies to the whole of the social care sector where normal supply routes have not been successful. These hubs will extend their provision to include all social care providers, and unpaid or family carers and personal assistants.

During the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, global supply chains have been put under immense pressure and that is why the Scottish Government has set up supplies of PPE to support the social care sector from the national stock.

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said:

“The Scottish Government values the importance of everyone who is providing social care and we want to ensure they have access to appropriate PPE.

“As we respond to the challenges from global scarcity of PPE, we have worked with partners to agree an improved model that will ensure all social care providers have access to supplies from national NHS stock.

“This has only been possible because of a shared aim to ensure the right PPE gets to the right people at the right time and to keep everyone safe.

“In the coming weeks, we will collectively monitor how this model is operating, identifying challenges quickly and taking action as we deal with the evolving nature of the pandemic.”

Health and Social Care spokesperson for COSLA, Councillor Stuart Currie said:

“COSLA welcomes this announcement which will ensure PPE provision for unpaid and family carers and personal assistants. 

“Local Government has worked with partners across the sector to develop this model to ensure those who are supporting vulnerable people within their communities and all parts of the workforce have access to the PPE they need.”


This new model will aim to improve the flow of PPE to providers by building on local intelligence.

Local requests for PPE were previously directed through the NSS PPE Social Care Triage helpline. This helpline will be for emergency use when the Hubs are unable to meet demand, eg if there is a spike of positive cases within a provider or in specific area. 

Care Homes and other social care providers are responsible for sourcing their own PPE stock, working with local government teams.

The improved local Hub model is:
• business as usual for providers to source their own stock of PPE
• where this fails, the hubs will provide PPE to the whole social care sector, including personal assistants and unpaid carers
• supplies will be used in line with guidance and distributed equitably according to need, regardless of employer
• NHS NSS will supply stock to the Hubs to meet need based on actual consumption/reasonable planned usage data – recognising that actual consumption may rise as business as usual sources of supply dry up and as Hubs expand their provision
• hubs will receive stock on a pre-determined day of the week, and will know what deliveries will include. They will be expected to provide a regular stock return to NSS
• NSS will provide virtual training for Hubs and providers on Hub operations and expectations
• distribution and supply arrangements will be analysed using evidence gathered from the ongoing operations, and kept under review for changes and improvements where necessary. This process will include all parties
• the National Services Scotland Social Care triage service will revert to being for emergency use only

The new approach was agreed by all partners. They are:
• Integrated Joint Board Chief Officers
• Scottish Care
• CCPS (Coalition of Care and support Providers in Scotland)
• National Carer Organisations
• SPAEN (Scottish Personal Assistant Employers Network)
• SSSC (Scottish Social Services Council)
• Care Inspectorate
• STUC (Scottish Trades Union Congress)

Guide to accessing PPE for social care providers and unpaid carers


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