Coronavirus is the biggest challenge we have faced in a lifetime, and there are few issues more important than protecting our frontline workers.
The response to this unprecedented emergency from our health service workers has been exceptional, and as the MSP for Glasgow Kelvin I personally owe you a huge debt of gratitude for working around the clock so we can beat this pandemic.
I want to reassure you today that the Scottish Government is working tirelessly to buy and distribute necessary supplies of the Personal Protective Equipment required to safeguard frontline health and social care workers.
The supply chain is working well and we currently have no shortages in supplies of masks, gloves and other necessary items.
The Scottish Government has also released Personal Protective Equipment from the national stockpile to meet the emerging demands. One and a half million respiratory masks that were marked for expiry in 2019 have been independently and comprehensively tested by the Health & Safety Executive who have assured they are safe for use.
Of course given the increase in demand for these items, supplies are being carefully managed both in Scotland and across other parts of the UK. The Scottish Government has now taken over responsibility for ordering protective equipment for social care workers and home care staff.
The number of distribution routes for supplies has also been scaled up to ensure those in need, even in our most remote areas, get the protection they require as soon as possible.
Needless to say, the types of protective clothing will not be the same for every setting and every clinical procedure. That’s why the Health Secretary, Jeane Freeman, is working to ensure the clinical guidance is crystal clear for every part of our health service about what protective clothing workers should have.
The NHS is keeping the current position with supplies under constant review as the coronavirus outbreak develops.
However, if local organisations or healthcare workers have any concerns whatsoever about the supply of protective clothing please do not hesitate to get in touch.
Sandra White MSP for Glasgow Kelvin