PPE Supply Implementation Project Board minutes April 2023

Minutes from the meeting of the group on 26 April 2023

Attendees and apologies

Scottish Government

  • Alan Morrison (Chair) (AM)
  • Graeme Cook (GC)
  • Mike Healy (MH)
  • Ruth Paterson (RP)
  • Frances MacKay (FM)
  • Marie Murray (Secretariat) (MM)

NHS NSS National Procurement

  • Gordon Beattie (GB)
  • Stephen Mitchell (SM)
  • Iain Main (IM)
  • Matt Thomas (MT)


  • Carolyn Whitelaw (CW)

Items and actions


AM welcomed members to the meeting. There were no requests to add any extra items to the agenda.

Minutes from 22 March 2023 and actions outstanding

Previous minutes approved, and an update was given on the actions outstanding. RP updated that the work to find a hosting platform for sectorial guidance continues but that a call had been scheduled with colleagues to explore the possibility of publication on the Ready Scotland Website. In relation to the Letter to chief executives, RP advised that National Procurement are awaiting receipt of legal advice about the risks of provision to other organisations and that the letter and a covering email would be sent to SG leads only once those issues are resolved. It is expected that legal advice will be received in May.

Stock Rotation - papers one and two

Paper one (stock rotation) was well received and it was agreed that this was a pragmatic approach to stockpile maintenance. There was a discussion around the proposed reduction in twelve week holding of the stock lines that cannot be fully rotated at current usage levels, and the mitigations that would be required to ensure stock availability. The efficacy of proposed mitigations in relation to holding less than twelve weeks peak stock were discussed, including manufacturing capacity and timescales.  It was noted that the nature of the contracts used would provide sufficient notice of any potential reduction in capacity for alternatives to be put in place.

  • it was noted that there is currently work ongoing at a four nations level on countermeasures for future health emergencies, particularly regarding future pathogens and what PPE ensembles would be required Health EPRR are part of those discussions and will be the SG team with the lead for PPE stockpiles going forward
  • it was agreed that  the potential for reduction in stock holdings would be revisited once the outcomes of the four nations countermeasures review was concluded
  • it was agreed that the stock levels should remain at the twelve week peak demand level for now, and that forward buy proposals should be put forward for any stocks that are currently below that level
  • the board suggested that more consideration should be given to waste stock and whether this can be repurposed or usefully donated
  • AM will remain as a contact with NSS, along with the NSS sponsorship team after the PPE implementation project ends on 28 April 2023

Paper two (FFP3 stock rotation) prompted discussions around face fit testing and revalidation of stock

  • the difficulties around implementing a national face fit testing database were raised, and it was suggested that responsibility for carrying the scheme forward should move back onto health boards, and existing systems can be utilised regarding face fit testing. Policy should  be in place to keep the testing going and maintained
  • it was agreed that the operation suggestions in the paper were sound
  • the potential impact of four nations countermeasures work as a factor to be considered was raised as a point to note. It was also noted that more work would need to be carried out in relation to fit testing by a number of policy areas who could be impacted and that this should be raised at an SG pandemic preparedness level
  • the board also agreed that any revalidation of FFP3 stock would need to be approved by policy areas including the Directorate of the Chief Nursing Officer, Directorate for Chief Medical Officer and Health Workforce as well as other interested policy areas

Project Update

An update was given on the current status of the project, including the current legal considerations and handover plans.

The current position of the sectoral guidance was also covered

  • ARHAI have fed back and suggested they can insert a link to the guidance in their Infection Prevention and Control Guidance and in their reference section, which is currently under development. It was not felt, however, that the guidance should be hosted on ARHAI sites as it had a different remit. Hosting on Ready Scotland website was to be explored with a meeting scheduled for later that week

Close Down Report

The following points were noted from the close down report

  • considerable progress has been made towards addressing the recommendations in Audit Scotland’s report on PPE from June 2021
  • there is agreement as to how inbound supply of pandemic PPE for NHSS should be achieved, along with a surge capacity element
  • there are proposals for providing access to the PPE stockpile
  • plans have been developed for a collaborative procurement arrangement involving public sector organisations (awaiting legal advice as detailed earlier)
  • sectoral pandemic PPE preparedness guidance for HSC and non-HSC has been drafted by the project team
  • a first draft of stand up guidance has been produced and further work will be carried out on this before handover to another SG team

There was discussion about what should be added to the close down report, and it was noted that the PPE Policy Team closing down has created a challenge for future communications between the various interested parties. It was noted that AM and the NSS sponsorship team in Health Finance could be used in order to signpost NSS to relevant persons and that the PPE Policy Team were currently working on a schedule to detail which teams would be responsible for different areas of PPE work going forward. This will be appended to an updated version of the close down report when liaison on this is complete

The board were invited to send any other comments regarding the close down report to the PPE Policy Team for inclusion in the final version.


  • PPE Policy Team to provide details of the team with PPE oversight to NSS
  • PPE Policy Team to provide further clarity on how SG will continue to be involved in the onboarding process for the collaborative procurement in the close down report

It was noted that this was the final meeting of the Project Board

Any other business

AM noted his appreciation for all work done and the cooperative approach taken. RP thanked the board for their support of the project team’s work.

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