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Some GP practices still experiencing PPE shortages, finds survey

by Awil Mohamoud
24 August 2020

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Some GP practices are still experiencing shortages of PPE, according to the latest BMA survey.

The survey found that 5% of 1,270 GPs had a shortage of both gloves and aprons in their practice in the week ending 13 August, while 9% said they had a shortage of face masks. 

One in 10 GPs (10%) also reported that their practice had a shortage of eye protection gear. 

These findings come as Public Health England (PHE) released new PPE requirements stating that GPs do not need single-use PPE such as gloves and aprons when working in vaccination clinics, unless staff are likely to be exposed to body fluids or broken skin. 

This replaces previous guidance from earlier in the Covid-19 pandemic, which stated that gloves and aprons had to be changed after seeing each patient, while masks and visors could be worn for a whole session.

In July, the Public Accounts Committee said the Governments’ ‘arrangements to procure and distribute PPE across health and social care remain unclear and uncertainty prevails around future provision of local PPE’, and called on the Department of Health and Social Care to publish a plan on how it would avoid shortages by September. 

Last month, health bodies also called on the Government to provide extra assurances around PPE and vaccine stock, as well as any extra funding, after it announced it would be extending the cohort entitled to free vaccinations to new groups. 

Earlier this month, NHS England said details on how practice can claim reimbursement for PPE are forthcoming, after announcing they would have six weeks to file for ‘legitimate additional costs’ incurred during the pandemic under the General Practice Covid Support Fund.