Coronavirus (COVID-19): Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) - action plan

Scotland’s COVID-19 Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Plan will help ensure that the right PPE of the right quality gets to the people who need it at the right time. The Plan’s scope includes health, social care and other workplaces and settings where COVID-19 could put people at risk.

Executive Summary

1. The aim of Scotland's Covid-19 PPE – Personal Protective Equipment – Plan is to ensure that the right PPE of the right quality gets to the people who need it at the right time. The Plan's scope includes health and social care settings and other workplaces where Covid-19 could put people at risk and they therefore need to wear masks, gloves and/or gowns to combat it.

2. The Scottish Government is responsible for the coordination and assurance of PPE issues in Scotland and working with partners to implement this Action Plan.

3. National Procurement is a part of NHS National Services Scotland, a national health board (hereafter "NSS National Procurement"). The team at NSS National Procurement have a crucial buying and delivery function for hospitals, and have expanded their role to encompass PPE in primary and social care during the current Covid-19 pandemic. For other sectors, Centres of Procurement Expertise also play a major role.

4. Employers right across the public, private and voluntary sectors need to make sure their staff have the right PPE and to do that, they need to be aware of and properly implement relevant clinical and sector-specific guidance. Local Authorities, Integration Authorities, Unions and individuals also have key roles to play in ensuring the guidance is understood and issues are raised and dealt with appropriately.

5. Since the start of the pandemic, there has been a dramatic increase in worldwide demand for PPE. To manage this in Scotland, the Scottish Government, along with a range of clinical/delivery partners including NHS Health Protection Scotland, NSS National Procurement, Scottish Enterprise and key stakeholders including union representatives have between us delivered:

  • Clear clinical and workplace-specific guidance;
  • Support for social and primary care, working with community partners such as Integration Authorities;
  • A programme of work to support the manufacture PPE in Scotland;
  • Actions to support all non-health and social care sectors in ensuring that the appropriate mechanisms were being put in place to deliver PPE;
  • A back-up commercial arrangement for employers that provide essential services but could not otherwise get the PPE they needed;
  • Better joint working in Scotland, including a senior-level Board to bring together the main parties; and
  • Work on a four-nation basis across the UK.

6. The Action Plan describes what we are doing to plan for winter – a central priority for the Scottish Government. Scotland is again experiencing increases in Covid-19 cases, and we have had to take significant recent steps to try to break the chains of infection. The challenges we face with Covid-19 could be compounded by bad weather, a flu outbreak, or a no-deal (or low-deal) EU exit. That said, we now know more about the virus, and from a stock holding perspective, we are better supplied with PPE and have easier access to local manufacturers than we did earlier this year. NSS National Procurement will soon have in its stock at least four months' supply, based on the current average usage, of all the key PPE commodities.

7. The Plan concludes by setting out our work to develop a sustainable supply chain over the medium to long term. The Plan sets out:

  • Our modelling work, which allows us to understand how supply and demand is changing;
  • Our work with the Scottish manufacturing sector, which is helping us work towards sustainable domestic manufacture;
  • How Scottish public procurement policy is helping us ensure our supply is resilient and best value for the taxpayer; and
  • How we are working to support innovation, considering the environmental impact of PPE and promoting reusability, and how the needs of users are at the forefront of our thinking.

Scottish Government
October 2020



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