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Personal protective equipment (PPE)


National and local PPE guidance

The government’s overview of adult social care guidance on Coronavirus (Covid 19) provides quick links in its help with infection prevention and control section to the main sources of PPE guidance for the social care sector.

This includes summarised tables, Q&A, visual guides to donning and doffing of PPE to support infection control as well as a training video for donning and doffing (care homes only) in the following settings:

  • care homes: how to work safely in care homes (includes video)
  • home care: how to work safely in domiciliary care

In the Reporting an Outbreak section you can find a link to the national PPE hub which has a range of further relevant guidance, including:

  • Covid-19: infection prevention and control (which includes posters on Facial Hair and FFP3 respirators, Best practice management of blood and body fluid spills and Routine decontamination of blood and body fluid spills)
  • PPE for aerosol and non-aerosol generating procedures
  • Covid-19: guidance for the care of the deceased
  • Covid-19: cleaning on non-healthcare settings outside the home

We have produced the following local guidance which aims to summarise the national advice:

We also recommend that all care providers watch this YouTube video guide about putting on and removing PPE in a range of health and social care settings (non-AGP procedures) by Public Health England and NHS England. 

On 11 December 2020, the Government issued Personal Protective Equipment for adult social care questions and answers (227 KB)


Accessing PPE 

Please ensure that you review your current supplies of PPE and ensure they are sufficient to meet your changing needs, implemented through your normal supply chains, or through national supply routes outlined in the securing PPE and related supplies section of the Overview of adult social care guidance for Coronavirus, which are:

  • the national on-line PPE portal (eligible providers can routinely access free PPE to meet the increased need as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic through the portal)
  • National Supply Disruption Response (NSDR) - this can be used when a provider cannot get PPE from any other route and has run out or will do imminently.  The NSDR helpline is available 24/7 at 0800 915 9964.
  • PHE advice on alternative PPE options

Please note: some concerns have been raised by providers in the past about the authenticity of the email invitation to the government’s online PPE portal. If you're unsure of the source of such an email, please contact us for advice at ascincidentmanagement@staffordshire.gov.uk 

Emergency PPE supplies from Staffordshire County Council

We have a limited supply of PPE. To access this stock service providers must:

  • have exhausted their own supply chain and national options (using the online portal) or they have experienced a sudden increase in requirements which cannot be met through these channels


  • have staff who need to provide care to a person who has or is suspected of having Covid-19 or part of a self-isolating household or providing regular personal care during sustained COVID-19 transmission in the UK

From Monday 28 September, the distribution hubs are located in the following 8 area offices, where PPE can be collected from 10am – 4pm Mon- Friday as identified in our current PPE procedure effective from 9 June 2021 (294 KB) 9 June 2020:

  • Cannock - Springvale, Walhouse Street,WS11 0DY, Telephone: 01543512333
  • Burton - Area Service Office, The Grange, Grange Street, Burton, DE14 2ER, Telephone: 01283 239666
  • Newcastle-under-Lyme - Castle House, Barracks Road, ST5 1BL Telephone:  01782 296290
  • Lichfield - The Old House, Eastern Avenue, Lichfield, WS13 7SQ, Telephone: 01543 510100
  • South Staffordshire - District Council Offices, Wolverhampton Road, Codsall, WV8 1PX, Telephone: 01902 506150
  • Stafford - Area Service Office, Floor 4, Stafford Borough Council Offices, Riverside, Stafford, ST16 3AQ, Telephone: 01785276800
  • Staffordshire Moorlands - Biddulph Area Service Office, Town Hall, High Street, Biddulph, Stoke on Trent, ST8 6AR, Telephone: 01782297810
  • Tamworth - Area Service Office, Marmion House, Lichfield Street, Tamworth, B79 7BZ, Telephone: 01827475555

Each hub will confirm the ID of requestor, provide PPE, complete a PPE Provision form and send it to emergency.ppe@staffordshire.gov.uk. Providers must ensure they wear a face covering when collecting PPE.

Providers unable to pick up local supplies from the distribution hubs or requiring larger amounts of PPE will be required to complete the attached PPE request form (Word; 495 KB) and to send directly to the emergency.ppe@staffordshire.gov.uk mailbox

The Health and Safety at work PPE team will then:

  • review the request form and clarify information as needed
  • respond within 48 hours (excluding weekends and bank holidays)
  • contact requester with pick up / delivery details and arrange for collection or delivery
  • record PPE distributed

Please note: An ongoing expectation is service providers must phone their local location to request access to an emergency supply of PPE and if agreed, arrange a collection time. PPE will not be issued without the prior telephone call.


Emergency PPE supply for providers located outside Staffordshire

Home care providers

We will issue emergency PPE supplies to be used for delivering services to Staffordshire service users only. 

Care home providers

We will issue care homes in Staffordshire with emergency PPE supplies for all residents.

We will not supply PPE to care homes located out of the county with Staffordshire residents. In these instances, the care home should approach the local authority in the area that it is based.


Face fit testing

From 1 August 2021, we will no longer be able to provide face fit testing support to care providers.

If you regularly use FFP3 face masks and/or are struggling to obtain consistent supplies of the type/model FFP3 face mask, meaning you need to be face fit tested for different FFP3 models, we recommend you consider training a staff member to be a face fit tester.

The Respiratory Protective Assessment Ltd, an accredited face fit test provider, are providing PHE funded face fit test training and support until 30 June 2021, to providers who carry out aerosol generated procedures.  

The helpline numbers are: 07376 30454 and 07376 304546; the lines are manned between 08:00 - 20:00 7 days per week by Fit2Fit accredited experts. 

For information about free training please contact the helpline or email claire.barker@face-fit.co.uk.  

Alternatively, further information on accredited face fit tester training can be found at fit2fit.


 Current PPE alerts

Important Notice: PFF healthcare aprons SKU APRN0012

Please see attached important customer notice (323 KB) for: PFF healthcare aprons SKU APRN0012.

The Council has not received any of these items or distributed them to providers so providers need to check their own stocks they have received from other sources. 

The affected batch numbers are A351 2020, A352 2020 and A363 2020

 Providers should immediately:

  • Review their stock of this brand without delay; any from the identified batches should be quarantined and use ceased with immediate effect.
  • If the batches as stated are identified, please contact; Mark.Foulger@pffhealth.uk.com.
  • The company will then arrange collection and replacement of affected stock. This stock exchange must be identified and contact made with the provider between 22nd June and 6th July. This 2-week window has been facilitated by PFF and must run only within these allocated dates. If stock is found following these dates, then please contact: productqueries@ppeenquiries.com

Important Notice: Full Support Healthcare Easimask FSM25 issued on 2 June 2021

In some cases the label on the inner carton does not indicate the type (Type IIR) and some do not bear the expected CE mark. However, the Department of Health and Social Care has confirmed that these have been approved for use as Type IIR face masks. 

To meet current supply needs, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (the medical device regulator) has approved release of this particular stock following a review of the available documentation provided by Full Support Healthcare. This includes confirmation that:

1. these face masks meet the standards claimed by the manufacturer; BS EN 14683 for Type IIR medical face masks

2. they have received an exceptional use (derogation) approval from MHRA following a robust review of the data, as this particular stock does not hold a CE mark (MHRA authorisation ref DEU/004/2021/002).

Images of the packaging can be found in the Annex of this attached letter from DHSC.  This mask is not available on the PPE Portal, therefore it may not be applicable to all providers. 

Surgical/medical face masks of Type IIR standard (or equivalent) should be used as part of the PPE ensemble for use against Covid-19 as per the Government's Covid-19: infection prevention and control (IPC) guidance. 

Important Customer Notice: Dochem Type IIR mask Product code 1A3100 issued on 23 April 2021

The Department of Health and Social care have issued a Quarantine Notice for Dochem Type IIR mask – Product code 1A3100, (SKU MKTIIR0156 – MKTIIR0118). The notice is due to a pick error in the PPE distribution centre and this should not have been distributed as it has not been formally released for use.

Actions required

  • Undertake a review of your Type IIR masks stock and identify if you have any of the affected product.

  • Please inform the NHS Product Enquiries Team on productqueries@ppeenquiries.com quoting Ref: Dochem Type IIR mask and confirming the volume of product in stock

  • They will then make arrangements for replacement of any required stock or update you when these can be released from quarantine

You can also find information on the following alerts on the Previous updates page:

  • Duraweld Face Visors - EPVS0143 - Latex Warning (26 February 2021)

  • Fang Tian FT-045A FFP3 masks Supplier: Polyco Healthline (18 February 2021)

  • Nitri-Hand Non Sterile Examination Glove  (12 February 2021)

  • Blayco Face Visor Model PF-01 Latex Warning (5 February 2021)

  • Flosteril non-sterile gowns (FLO-MED 8130) (11 August 2020)
  • Alcohol-based hand sanitiser - alert retraction (26 June 2020)
  • Type IIR masks - Cardinal Health and Fluid Resistant Surgical Masks (3 July 2020)
  • Tiger Eye Protector (6 June 2020)



Ensuring donated PPE meets required standards

Local communities are donating a number of PPE items to providers, this includes items such as face masks, scrubs and visors. 

Providers need to ensure any PPE donated meets the required standards before use, as per the national guidance - technical specifications for personal protective equipment.

PPE should be appropriately certified, for example looking for the CE mark on the item and packaging; some companies have exemption certified for the CE marks from the Medical and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency and will have a letter to this effect.


Other resources on the use of PPE

PPE use in hospitals

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