An online system for community health and care services to order PPE is being piloted with GP practices, with plans to roll it out across the country ‘in the coming weeks’, the Government has said.
The system, which is being developed by online auction site Ebay, will allow primary, social and community care providers to request PPE from central NHS supplies.
A total of 1,300 social care providers and GP practices are testing the system, which will see PPE delivered directly to surgeries and will be provided free of charge.
During the pilot phase providers will only be allowed to order one box of PPE per week and should continue to secure additional equipment from their usual supplier, said the Department of Health and Social Care.
The DHSC could not confirm the estimated delivery time for PPE ordered through the website, but said items were being supplied from the NHS Supply Chain, with help from Clipper Logistics and despatched by the Royal Mail.
The DHSC told Management in Practice’s sister publication, Pulse, that Ebay was working ‘at pace’ to develop the site for it to be rolled out to more organisations.
A DHSC spokesperson said: ‘An online PPE portal is under development to enable primary, social and community care providers to request critical PPE from central inventory.
‘Orders will be managed in line with PHE guidance and wider availability from the NHS Supply Chain’s central PPE logistic operations and will be shipped directly via Royal Mail.
‘Ebay is working at pace on development, and once the new system is fully up and running, we will look to expand further to meet the demands of the health and care sectors.’
During a House of Commons debate on 28 April, local government secretary Robert Jenrick said councils continued to ensure PPE was being delivered to frontline workers, in addition to national supply chain routes but acknowledged ‘there is more that we need to do’.
He added: ‘The online Clipper service is now being piloted in care homes and in general practice, and it will be rolled out, as the health secretary has said, in the coming weeks.’