UK set to produce 70 percent of PPE required domestically by December
Due to the demand caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the UK government has said British manufacturers will produce the majority of PPE by the end of the year.
The UK government has announced that health and social care workers treating COVID-19 patients have access to an uninterrupted supply of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and that overall, 32 billion items have now been purchased.
According to the government, four-month stockpiles of items such as face masks, visors and gowns will be in place from November to provide a continuous flow to the frontline, helping to ensure staff always have the equipment they need.
Due to the unprecedented domestic production of PPE, for items including gowns and FFP3 facemasks, 70 percent of the expected demand for PPE will be met by UK manufacturers from December. The government says that businesses have been supporting the effort by creating hundreds of new jobs and reducing reliance on overseas companies. Before the pandemic, only one percent of PPE was produced in the UK.
Health and Care Secretary Matt Hancock said: “At the start of the pandemic, meeting the huge demands for PPE was a massive challenge. That is why we have worked every day since to ensure we have an uninterrupted supply to meet the challenges in the coming months and protect those who are protecting us. We have built robust and resilient supply chains from scratch and thanks to an absolutely phenomenal effort from UK businesses, almost three quarters of demand for PPE will soon be met by UK manufacturers. As we take every step to combat this virus we are setting out this plan to reassure our health and social care workers that they will have the PPE they need to carry out their tireless work.”
Since February 2020, over 3.5 billion PPE items have been distributed to the frontline, including GPs, social care providers, community pharmacists, dentists and hospices, the UK government says. Before, the COVID-19 pandemic, the normal supply chain for PPE was designed to accommodate delivery to 226 National Health Service (NHS) Trusts, but essential supplies are now being sent to 58,000 different settings after a new distribution network was developed.
Lord Paul Deighton, adviser to the Health Secretary on PPE, said: “We have brought together a team that unites our procurement expertise and have overhauled the distribution network to rely less on overseas imports and more on our excellent businesses at home to ensure there is a reliable supply over the years to come.”