A dedicated team at Essex County Council (ECC) is being set up to procure PPE until 2022.
Up to £280,000 is being earmarked to fund the creation of a dedicated team within ECC to buy personal protective equipment and manage the logistics required to provide PPE to suppliers and services until March 2022.
ECC predicts that the need for PPE will increase as the council’s services reopen.
The council says a good supply of PPE will be necessary to ensure staff safety and to provide reassurance to colleagues “who are anxious about coming out of social isolation”.
At the same time, the council expects there to be a continuing need to act as a provider of last resort to the social care sector, ensuring it has access to PPE when normal supply routes fail.
The expectation is that a PPE operation will be needed for a period of up to two years.
This operation will ensure that the council stays abreast of the guidance on PPE usage as and when it changes, liaising with front line services and contracted suppliers as necessary.
It will ensure appropriate stocks of PPE are maintained to meet anticipated demand and that logistics arrangements are in place to deliver stocks to where they are needed.
At the height of the epidemic ECC issued an appeal for PPE, including gloves, aprons, facemasks, overshoes, hand gel and safety goggles to help bridge the gap while national supply lines were established.
At the beginning of July ECC updated its position and confirmed it was continuing to support care homes by providing PPE where needed and in line with the Essex Resilience Forum guidelines.
However, it urgently needs more PPE to provide protection to front line care staff who are looking after and delivering care to the most vulnerable residents within Essex.
A statement as part of a cabinet decision notice said: “Supply of PPE may be required in some cases to comply with our statutory duties under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.
“It is not known how long the current issues will continue, and it may be that there is a reduced requirement for PPE depending on the availability of a vaccine. It is therefore recommended that the team should be engaged on terms which enable the early termination should it no longer be required.”