Health Minister Robin Swann has stressed that staff concerns on Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) are being treated extremely seriously.
Mr Swann said concrete action is being taken on Northern Ireland’s supply of PPE and its distribution across health and social care services.
Further action is also being taken on PPE guidance to all frontline staff.
The Minister stated: “Let me assure staff once again that I hear their concerns loud and clear. They will already know from my short time in office how much I value them.
“This is a very fluid situation and there is inevitably very high demand for PPE. It needs to be emphasised that we have substantial PPE in stock and it is being issued to the system, with more orders placed.
“Steps have also been taken to streamline and improve its distribution – and to ensure the independent care home and domiciliary care providers are supported.
“Ensuring the safety of all staff who are dealing with COVID-19 patients is an absolute priority. It is, of course, also essential that these products are used in line with advice.
“Demand for PPE will inevitably intensify in the days and weeks ahead.
“We are therefore taking every conceivable step to keep building up our stocks to meet this demand. It is very welcome news that key global supply chains are starting to reopen.
“We will pursue every feasible supply route, both local and international, to enhance our supplies.”
The Minister also expressed his thanks to everyone working on PPE supply and distribution.
Notes to editors:
- PPE stock released by BSO during March 2020 included: Aprons - 39,600; Facemasks – fluid resistant 1,038,150; Gloves - 223,800; Respirator FFP3 - 54,530; Visor 14,920
- The release of stock from the pandemic stockpile announced this week will immediately increase the volumes of stock available for distribution as required. This will include access to over 3 million items of PPE including aprons, masks and gloves.
- For media queries please contact the Department of Health Press Office team on 028 9052 0636 or by email. For out of hours please contact the Duty Press Officer on 028 9037 8110 and your call will be returned.
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