I’m very concerned about the reports I’ve received of delays in supply of PPE. This is badly letting down doctors, care workers and other vital healthcare and frontline staff. I’m shocked by reports that doctors have been making their own equipment, and that the Healthcare Supply Association has been forced to ask DIY shops to donate protective equipment to NHS staff.
It must be an absolute and urgent priority for the NHS and care staff to be able to access the protective equipment they need. We need urgent clarification from ministers about what their plan is to secure necessary supplies and why action appears to have been taken so late. My Labour colleagues and I are doing all we can to press the government on this.
Last night the Housing Secretary, Robert Jenrick, said that the Army have been drafted in to deliver vital PPE, including 10 million masks, to healthcare workers. I understand that a dedicated hotline has also been set up by the government, allowing healthcare organisations to order PPE 24 hours a day. In Greater, Manchester, Mayor Andy Burnham is also attempting to secure additional supplies.
However, I know that there is still a lot of concern about whether there will be enough PPE for healthcare and other frontline workers. I’ll do my best to keep you updated with any further information I receive or do check my website for regular updates on this fast-moving situation.