‘No PPE masks left for care homes or homecare staff’
Sector operators unable to compete with the NHS to procure face masks, care home owner claims
The government is 'hoovering up' personal protective equipment (PPE) stocks from regular suppliers and tying up contracts into next year, a care home director said.
Justin Russi, who runs four homes in Teesside and County Durham in north east England, said face masks with a unit price of 16p in January now cost more than £1.20, and even alternative sources such DIY chains are running out.
Mr Russi said each of his homes routinely get through 50 masks a day.
'This is going to get worse in the next week or so as we have heard the government has asked officials to hoover up all the PPE,’ he said.
'We are getting emails from our suppliers saying they're sorry but they cannot supply us as the NHS has come in and taken up contracts until 2021. The pool is drying up.'
Mr Russi said care homes across England would be scrambling for PPE.
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‘Every homecare provider is struggling to find PPE too’
The UK Homecare Association (UKHCA) agreed that sourcing equipment for care workers remained a main concern for providers and staff were spending hours on the phone trying to source masks, gowns and gloves.
UKHCA policy director Colin Angel told the BBC on Tuesday: 'Every homecare provider in the country is really struggling to get a sure supply of PPE.
'It's a real stress. I have a provider who was telling me he was spending 90% of his time trying to get PPE delivered
Huge effort to get PPE into care homes, Boris Johnson claims
Speaking on 6 May, prime minister Boris Johnson said he regretted the COVID-19 crisis in care homes and set a new 200,000-a-day coronavirus testing target.
'A huge amount of effort has been gone into by literally tens of thousands of people to get the right PPE into care homes, to encourage workers in care homes to understand what is needed,’ he said.
However, research by the National Care Forum this week revealed that of 6,469 social care staff displaying symptoms of COVID-19, only 22% had been tested.
The Department of Health and Social Care was asked to comment.
Tributes to dedicated HCAs who have lost their lives in the pandemic
Tributes have been paid to more healthcare staff assistants (HCAs) known to have died after contracting COVID-19.
University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust haematology nurse Jennie Sablayan was described as an expert in her field who cared for patients with leukaemia and lymphoma with kindness and dedication.
Mother-of-two Ms Sablayan died on 5 May.
Hounslow and Richmond Community Healthcare NHS Trust paid tribute to HCA Afua Fofie who died in April.
The trust said Ms Fofie was ‘known for her infectious laugh and willingness to go the extra mile for patients and her colleagues’.
Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust confirmed the deaths of HCA Elvira Bucu on 3 April and associate practitioner in histopathology Prem Lal on 19 April.
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