Coronavirus (COVID-19) PPE Strategy and Governance Board minutes: 17 June 2021

Minutes of the 17 June 2021 meeting of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) PPE Strategy and Governance Board.

Attendees and apologies

Alan Morrison (Chair) (AM)

Alison Bell (AB)

Ruth Paterson (RP)

Lindsey Gray (LG)

Chris Bierley (CB)

Julie O’Donnell (JO)

Mhairi Roberts (MR)

Graham Cook (GC)

Elaine Ross (ER)Paul Hornby (PH)

Billy Renfrew (BR)

Andy McLaughlin (AM)

Emma Nycz (note taker)


Nick Ford

Lesley Shepherd

Items and actions

1. Welcome and open the meeting – Alan Morrison

AM opened the meeting and welcomed the attendees. New member, Elaine Ross (CNOD), will share meeting attendance with Lesley Shepherd. GC also noted that he would be representing Nick Ford at this meeting.

2. Minutes from 20 May 2021 and actions outstanding – Alan Morrison

The minutes were agreed by the board members. No actions were outstanding.

3. Proposed programme of work on PPE (Paper 1) – Alison Bell

AB outlined the purpose and content of Paper 1, and advised that it was intended to show the broad program of future work on PPE. The key work streams, agencies involved and the links between them are also covered within the paper.

AM noted that Paper 1 highlighted that the Board were still working within quite a complex landscape, and that the considerations from the Audit Scotland Report (published 17 June 2021) and strategies around future pandemic preparedness  would also have to form part of the future strategy. GC advised that streamlining work streams where possible could help rationalise this complexity. PH also suggested that contextualising the paper in terms of the core PPE products used for Covid-19 protection could be useful.

In response to ER’s concerns about the inclusion of clinical advice on meeting schedules, AB stated that a wide a variety of colleagues, experts, agencies and partners within the clinical and technical sector would likely need to be included, rather than CNOD being the sole clinical lead for the work streams.

4. Initial work stream reports/updates –

a. Future procurement subgroup – (Paper 2) Alison Bell for Moira Parker

AB outlined Paper 2, prepared by Moira Parker. The paper concerns an ongoing piece of work which aims to progress the development of a resilient procurement approach across the public sector, which meets the needs of both business as usual procurement and pandemic situations. It is proposed that a small, short life strategic working group is commissioned to consider the big issues and work streams within this broad strategic aim. Alongside this group would be another small sub-group which would focus on the three procurement options as preferred by the board (details of which are within the annex of Paper 2). AM requested comments from the Board and if members were content with this proposal.

GC noted that more work must still be undertaken around a sourcing strategy, and that while a procurement COE group is considering this topic, it is not doing so in the detail required. This could be a commission to one of the proposed new subgroups. GC noted that he and Barry Graham would be well positioned to consider this information gap. AM agreed that a more focused look at the data around this topic before would be useful. Aside from this point, the Board were content with the proposal.

b. ​​Pandemic PPE stockpile/surge strategy – Alison Bell for Moira Parker/ Billy Renfrew

AB advised that within the development of any procurement strategy, there must be consideration of the future pandemic countermeasures. BR agreed with this sentiment, and noted that the UK had set up a counter measures review covering pandemic and CBRN situations, and that this could be one information source that informs Scotland’s future procurement strategy.

c. Finance/ modelling – Ruth Paterson

RP outlined progress made to PPE finance and modelling. RP stated that the PPE Unit now oversee a budget which covers NHS NSS Covid-19 related PPE expenditure, PPE innovation and sustainable manufacturing work, and any legislative work as appropriate. A monthly reporting process has been initiated to provide monthly reports on what is being provided and achieved through this budget.

RP stated that unlike at the start of the pandemic, there was now a wealth of data around PPE supply and demand. A new hybrid demand model had been proposed by NHS NSS and agreed by the PPE Unit, which took into account the data and a range of variable factors and would be reviewed monthly. This will reduce the chance of NHS NSS overstocking PPE.

d. Primary and Social Care PPE – Ruth Paterson

RP stated that the Cabinet Secretary had extended the provision of funding for PPE support to Primary Care Independent Contractors providing NHS services until 31 March 2022, in order to support NHS remobilisation services. Longer term provisions are being considered and the Board will continue to be updated.

The Cabinet Secretary has also agreed that funding for Social Care PPE Hubs will be extended to 31 March 2022. The longer term arrangements for PPE provision to Social Care providers after that date are currently being considered and RP will update the SRO as to the progress of this work which is being led by NHS NSS colleagues.  

e. Surplus SLWG – Ruth Paterson

RP explained that there was a surplus of some PPE products within NHS NSS, and that a Short Life Working Group had been created in order to consider how to use these products for maximum benefit, preferably within health and social care and public sector settings. PH stated that progress was good, and that effective communication with the public sector would be essential for the successful allocation of this surplus stock.

f. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Innovation working group and subgroups – Mhairi Roberts

MR noted that this topic has been discussed in detail at previous meetings, and therefore gave only a brief overview on the Innovation Working Group and the sub-groups within this. GC advocated that early communication with public procurement partners when developing innovative products is essential, and would maximise the chances of new, innovative products being able to be successfully procured and used within the public sector.

g. ​​​​​​​Scottish manufacturing – Mhairi Roberts

MR explained to members that an area of present consideration is the domestic PPE manufacturing sector, and how the Scottish Government can most effectively support this sector through any future market changes. AM noted that there were no warning signs from a supply or demand perspective yet, and PH stated that the future innovation of PPE products could also have a positive influence on domestic manufacturing.

​​​​​​​h. PPE Action Plan PPE Action Plan - Supporting Actions Log – (Papers 3 & 4) – Moira Parker

AB noted that Paper 3 and 4 concerned the PPE Actions Plan and the updated summary of the Supporting Actions Log. While these documents had proved an effective way of tracking progress, the PPE Unit will review the Action Plan to establish whether changes are required as we progress from procurement within a pandemic situation to a longer term strategy.  

i. ​​​​​​​Clinical/ technical input and 4 nations engagement – Alison Bell

AB noted Paper 1 had included the Four Nations as an informational input, alongside clinical and technical parties.

5. S&G Board revised remit (Paper 5) – Alan Morrison

AM made members aware that a minor change to this paper had been made, and that the need for a quorum of members to be present had been removed. No member raised an objection to this and the remit was approved.

6. Audit Scotland report (Paper 6) – Alan Morrison

AM stated that the Audit Scotland Report into the Scottish Government’s PPE performance during the pandemic had been published. The Board gave thanks to all involved in PPE supply throughout the unprecedented and challenging circumstances of the pandemic.

7. Date of next meeting – Alan Morrison

It was provisionally agreed that the board would next meet on 16 July 2021, although AM noted that as this fell in the middle of the school holidays  AM could reconsider this in terms of member availability.  [Next meeting was 19 August 2021]

8. AOB


Meeting closed.

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