Information

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Futures programme - overview

An introduction to the PPE Futures programme, which builds on learnings on PPE issues and how we can use them for a future epidemic or pandemic.


Executive summary

  • Audit Scotland’s briefing on PPE in June 2021 said that Scottish Government (SG) and NS Scotland National Procurement Services (NSS) need to learn from experience and to address a range of PPE issues for the future, and we were happy to agree to that recommendation

  • the SG has set up a focused, collaborative programme of work, involving procurement partners such as NSS, to consider the medium to long term future of PPE in Scotland – the “PPE Futures Programme”

  • our aim is to plan for new approaches to pandemic PPE which will ensure that we learn from experience, promote innovation, and have strong, sustainable foundations for any future epidemic or pandemic
  • this work will run to the end of March 2022 in the first instance, and will cover areas such as primary and social care, manufacturing and innovation, and planning for future pandemics including the procurement of pandemic PPE

Background

As identified by Audit Scotland, we faced considerable challenges in PPE supplies early in the current pandemic. Supply chains tightened internationally, and costs and demand rose steeply. Scotland never ran out of PPE, and we built new supply chains overseas and then in Scotland, from scratch, which met our needs. However, we need to ensure we are not a similar position in the event of a future pandemic whenever that may occur. We also need to make sure there are sustainable long term arrangements in place for all sectors which need them, and to work with manufacturers to build sustainable supply.

Programme aim

The SG’s PPE Strategy & Governance Board has agreed the following aim for the PPE Futures Programme:

To plan for new approaches to pandemic PPE which will ensure that we learn from experience, promote innovation, and have strong, sustainable foundations for any future epidemic or pandemic.

Workstreams, timing and deliverables

In order to deliver on the aims and objectives of the Futures Programme, the work has been split into the following distinct but linked workstreams:

  • future PPE Pandemic Supply – developing a strategy to ensure Scotland is ready for a future pandemic whenever it may occur
  • Scottish manufacturing – working to protect the new Scottish PPE manufacturing capacity and capability
  • innovation - overseeing the implementation of positive changes to the provision of PPE in Scotland
  • primary and social care PPE – formulating / implementing a policy for PPE provision to Primary and Social Care providers
  • PPE stock – working to minimise wastage / maximise the benefit of PPE purchased
  • third party contract for non health and social care (ended 31/10/21)
  • stakeholder engagement - identifying and engaging with relevant stakeholders at workstream and programme level
  • expert advisory group - establishing an expert advisory group
  • lessons learned - ensuring each workstream has considered the lessons learned for their respective areas, and apply this knowledge throughout the work being undertaken

Our time-frame for the PPE Futures programme is to the end of financial year 2021-22, although the agreed plan to implement certain aspects are likely to be ongoing for a far longer period.

Useful links

Scottish Government PPE unit

November 2021

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