Millions more items of PPE are being made available for frontline staff after businesses answered the government’s call to arms to support health and social care workers.
Amazon, the Royal Mint, Jaguar Land Rover and eBay are amongst the businesses pledging to ramp up production of PPE and procurement to aid the coronavirus response.
Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said: “In continuing to tackle this global pandemic we outlined the need for a great national effort to ensure our frontline NHS and social care continue to have all the equipment they need. The support from businesses who accepted this challenge has been phenomenal.
“International demand for PPE has never been so high, and we are now working with over 1,000 businesses and establishing a British manufacturing base, which will see tens of millions of extra items of PPE delivered to the frontline in coming weeks alone.”
More than 200 potential manufacturers have been identified and many have been contracted to make over 25 million items of PPE and deliver 12 million square metres of PPE fabric to produce items such as gowns, gloves and aprons.
The partnerships will help bolster existing measures the government has implemented to increase the supply of PPE to the NHS and social care sector, as set out in its national PPE plan published in April. This includes the creation of a PPE distribution network with the NHS, industry and armed forces, and a 24-hour NHS-run helpline to report any shortage of supplies.
The new initiative comes as many care home operators face potential financial collapse due to soaring PPE and staffing costs.
Research by nursing home operator Palms Row Health Care has calculated that care homes are spending at least £38.6m a week on combating the coronavirus.
Nicola Richards, Managing Director of Palms Row Health Care, said care homes were being “abandoned” by local authorities during the pandemic.