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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. 



Guidance on appropriate infection control and use of PPE - we answer your questions

We are currently updating our PPE questions and answers in light of revised national guidance issued on 20 July. 



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 (please note in the 21 September 2020 update, eligible providers can now use the portal to order PPE for COVID-19 requirements, rather than as an emergency top-up system). 
  • Local Resilience Forums
  • National Supply Disruption Response (please note the 21 September 2020 update provides new additional information regarding when to use the National Supply Disruption Response).
  • PHE advice on alternative PPE options

Please note: we are aware of some concerns from providers 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.

Our Adult social care PPE distribution procedure (608 KB) 17 August 2020 outlines the current criteria for accessing local supplies, their location and contact details to access this PPE which is operational until Sunday 27 September 2020

After this, the fire service returns to operational duties and will be unable to continue to act as local PPE distribution hubs. In response to this: 

  • From Monday 28 September, the distribution hubs will be located in the following 8 area offices, where PPE can be collected from 10am – 4pm Mon- Friday as identified in our new PPE procedure effective from 28 September 2020 (316 KB) 15 September 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.



Current PPE alerts

Important Customer Alert (ICA) for Flosteril non-sterile gowns (FLO-MED 8130) 

On 11 August an alert was issued that Flosteril non-sterile gowns gowns do not meet the minimum standard for fluid resistance and should not be used.

Immediate recommended action is to check for any unused stock, stop using and quarantine any unused gowns and prepare quarantined gowns for collection or return them to your private supplier. Full instructions and information is contained within the accompanying ICA.

Please note that the gowns have not been distributed to Local Resilience Forums via the Department of Health and Social Care and will not have been in any PPE stocks provided by Staffordshire County Council but it is important that you check for any unused stock in case you have received the gowns through other distribution routes. Please see the alert below:

Flosteril non-sterile gowns ICA 110820 (372 KB)

If you have further questions about the Customer Alert, please contact the DHSC PPE Demand Team at Covid19.LRF@dhsc.gov.uk

For information on previous alerts please see the Previous Updates page.



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 (11 May 2020).

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.



Temporary VAT zero rating on PPE supplies - extended to 31 October 2020

The government has extended the temporary zero VAT rating on PPE supplies to 31 October. Find out more in the tax information and impact note (3 July 2020) on the government website.



Other resources on the use of PPE

PPE use and heat-measures to reduce risk of heat stress

  • Guidance (added 25 June 2020). Outlines measures recommended by Public Health England and the Health and Safety Executive to control temperature in the working environment and to enable staff to stay cool and well hydrated.

PPE use in hospitals

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