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.

Annex B

Summary of PPE Developments Across Scotland's Workplaces During Covid-19 Pandemic

1. The Police and Fire and Rescue Services, Scottish Prison Service and other Central Government bodies all have well-established procurement arrangements. These bodies' Heads of Procurement work closely with Scottish Government procurement colleagues and there are governance arrangements and communication channels in place to support a co-ordinated effort and consultation. Contingency planning is underway and they are closely monitoring their usage and stock levels to ensure sufficient stock holdings of PPE. These organisations may, if they wish, access the third party framework.

2. The majority of transport operators have pre-existing supply routes to procure the required PPE for staff. At the outset of the Covid-19, pandemic meetings were held with unions to discuss a variety of issues including the provision of appropriate PPE for its members to enable them to carry out duties. The Transport Guidance for Operators which was subsequently published, and consulted on with unions and operators, sets out the requirement of operators to carry out risk assessments for staff with PPE being the last step in the hierarchy of risk and other control measures should be considered before the application of PPE.

3. Schools and local authorities already have set risk assessment processes for the use of PPE and sourcing mechanisms through Scotland Excel or at local level. Following any risk assessment (individual or organisational), where the need for PPE has been identified it should be readily available and provided and staff should be trained on its use. The use of PPE by staff within schools should be based on a clear assessment of risk and need for an individual child or young person, such as personal care, where staff come into contact with blood and body fluids or lift children and young people. Maintaining supplies of PPE for Additional Support Needs settings is of particular importance. We will work with local authorities to ensure need continues to be met. Guidance is available[22] and further work is underway with stakeholders, including those representing teachers and support staff, to develop a further iteration, including further consideration of the needs of those working with children with Additional Support Needs.

4. Guidance for universities, colleges, and student accommodation providers emphasises the importance of undertaking robust and ongoing risk assessments with full input from trade unions and student associations and to keep all risk mitigation measures under regular review so that staff and students continue to feel, and be safe[23]. APUC have been in regular consultation with Scottish Universities and Colleges and the six Higher and Further Education purchasing consortia in England and Wales to maintain clear communication and continuity of supply of PPE through established collaborative Framework Agreement and local contracts, ensuring priority to Health and Social Care. APUC Ltd have taken the lead on a collaborative Framework Agreement for PPE, Workwear and Sportwear on behalf of Scottish, English, Welsh and Northern Irish institutions that enables consideration of UK based manufacturing and wider cross sector collaboration. The Heads of Procurement within Universities and Colleges work closely with APUC Ltd and there are clear and established communication channels in place to support collaboration and consultation.

5. Early learning and Childcare (ELC) guidance states that no PPE is required when undertaking routine educational activities. However guidance is provided where specific circumstances are identified during a local risk assessment requiring the use of PPE[24]. During the summer there were challenges in the sourcing of PPE equipment, particularly within private and third sector childcare providers. This has been addressed by making the third party PPE framework available to these partners.

6. Those working in the funeral industry have well established supply routes to procure PPE appropriate for their needs. However, during the first wave of the pandemic, the global shortage of PPE also impacted the funeral industry with many businesses facing challenges in sourcing PPE through their usual supply routes. To address this, members of the funeral industry were given access to the third party provider PPE framework. This proved an effective solution at the time, and access to the framework will continue to be available to the funeral industry over the coming months.

7. Sector specific Covid guidance on returning to work safely across multiple other workplaces is available on the Scottish Government website[25]. This guidance references the need for face coverings and other safe working practices within a wide range of other sectors, including but not restricted to:

  • Tourism and hospitality, public spaces and sports and leisure
  • Manufacturing
  • Waste
  • Call centres and customer contact centre environments
  • The retail sector - including close contact services such as hairdressers, barbers and beauty salons
  • The creative industries
  • Advice to the agriculture and horticulture industry can be found on the SASA website[26].



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