PPE access extended to all social care providers
Everyone who provides social care will have access to appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) under new arrangements announced by health secretary Jeane Freeman.
From Monday 27 April, local Hubs will distribute PPE supplies to the whole of the social care sector where normal supply routes have not been successful. These hubs will extend their provision to include all social care providers, and unpaid or family carers and personal assistants.
The Scottish Government said it has set up supplies of PPE to support the social care sector from the national stock due to the immense pressure being out on global supply chains.
Ms Freeman said: “The Scottish Government values the importance of everyone who is providing social care and we want to ensure they have access to appropriate PPE.
“As we respond to the challenges from global scarcity of PPE, we have worked with partners to agree an improved model that will ensure all social care providers have access to supplies from national NHS stock.
“This has only been possible because of a shared aim to ensure the right PPE gets to the right people at the right time and to keep everyone safe.
“In the coming weeks, we will collectively monitor how this model is operating, identifying challenges quickly and taking action as we deal with the evolving nature of the pandemic.”
Agreed by all partners including Integrated Joint Board Chief Officers, Scottish Care, CCPS, Care Inspectorate and the STUC (Scottish Trades Union Congress), the improved local Hub model is:
• business as usual for providers to source their own stock of PPE
• where this fails, the hubs will provide PPE to the whole social care sector, including personal assistants and unpaid carers
• supplies will be used in line with guidance and distributed equitably according to need, regardless of employer
• NHS NSS will supply stock to the Hubs to meet need based on actual consumption/reasonable planned usage data – recognising that actual consumption may rise as business as usual sources of supply dry up and as Hubs expand their provision
• hubs will receive stock on a pre-determined day of the week, and will know what deliveries will include. They will be expected to provide a regular stock return to NSS
• NSS will provide virtual training for Hubs and providers on Hub operations and expectations
• distribution and supply arrangements will be analysed using evidence gathered from the ongoing operations, and kept under review for changes and improvements where necessary.
Health and social care spokesperson for COSLA, Councillor Stuart Currie, said: “COSLA welcomes this announcement which will ensure PPE provision for unpaid and family carers and personal assistants.
“Local government has worked with partners across the sector to develop this model to ensure those who are supporting vulnerable people within their communities and all parts of the workforce have access to the PPE they need.”
meanwhile, more than 22,000 students and returning health and social care workers have come forward to support the NHS in its response to the outbreak.
The figure includes nearly 7,000 students in nursing and midwifery, medicine and the allied health professions and scientific disciplines. In addition there are almost 3,000 former social care workers, professionals and experienced healthcare workers returning from career breaks and retirement and individuals joining the NHS from the independent sector.
Applicants are being held on a list, with Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) and Disclosure checks being fast-tracked to allow new recruits to take up posts as soon as possible.
Offers of employment are being made across NHS Scotland with more than 160 applicants ready to be deployed and more than 3,600 returners in the process of completing their pre-employment checks.
The Scottish Social Services Council is taking forward applications and pre-employment checks for the social care workforce, with 140 individuals now matched into roles and a further 225 ready and available for deployment.
Ms Freeman added: “I thank the thousands of students and retired health and social care workers who have answered our calls for support, and put themselves forward to help the NHS response to COVID-19.
“This has been an outstanding response and we are working with NHS Education for Scotland and our boards to ensure returners and students are deployed as quickly and effectively as possible.
“While increasing capacity in our NHS is essential we must also do it safely which is why the processes, induction and training must be carefully followed and I thank those who have registered for their patience as we urgently work through these details.
“The steps we are taking now are about targeting and prioritising our workforce where it is most needed which means adapting our staffing plans as we move through the different stages of this pandemic. While not all of those who have applied to help will be needed immediately, the offers are very much appreciated, and this is giving us the scope to be as flexible as we can, so we can make the best use of the different talents which our students and returning NHS and social care staff are offering.”
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