Government confirms extension of free PPE provision to the health and care sector until 31 March 2023
13 January 2022
Following its recent consultation, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has announced that the provision of free PPE to the health and care sector will be extended to 31 March 2023 or until the UK Infection Prevention and Control guidance is withdrawn or significantly amended, whichever is sooner.
DHSC’s statement following the consultation on the future provision of free PPE notes that 87% of wholesalers and suppliers responding to the consultation indicated that they were not in favour of free PPE being extended.
In its response to the consultation and in ongoing engagement with DHSC, the BDIA has made it clear that it believes that any Government interventions must be complimentary and not competing with private commercial supply.
DHSC’s consultation outcome further states that the supply of free PPE is for COVID-19 PPE only, and that health and care providers are expected to purchase their business-as-usual PPE from other sources including wholesalers and suppliers. However, the BDIA has repeatedly highlighted concerns that there appears to be no measures, definitions or criteria in place to control the central supply of free PPE to the NHS dental sector at present.
The vast majority of consultation responses, over 80%, represented those providing healthcare and benefiting from the free provision of PPE, so it comes as no real surprise that, “Overall, the consultation responses showed that the overwhelming majority of health and care providers are strongly in favour of the option to extend the provision of free PPE”.
The Government’s response does, however, report that, “The wholesalers and suppliers who chose to respond reiterated concerns raised about the proposal to extend free PPE.
- questioning the need for an extension of free PPE because of the present widespread availability of PPE
- stressing the impact this would have on their business
- reiterating the view that the government should not continue to interfere with the market.”
The BDIA will be continuing its dialogue with the DHSC on this issue going forwards.