Surrey County Council is waiving the cost of personal protective equipment supplied so far to care homes, hospices and other providers to guard against Covid-19.
Since March, more than six million pieces of PPE have been distributed across Surrey to 900 care homes, hospices, home-based carers, GPs, children’s services and other providers through the county’s Local Resilience Forum (LRF), a partnership of public services.
The LRF team has driven more than 13,000 miles delivering emergency supplies of masks, aprons, gloves and other equipment to support Surrey’s care and health services.
PPE has been obtained from three sources – from the Department of Health and Social Care’s national supply which has been provided free to LRFs across the country, from business donations and from stocks purchased by Surrey County Council, sourced from all over the world by a dedicated LRF team.
Together the three supply sources have enabled the LRF to meet the urgent need for PPE ensuring that no Surrey provider has had to close because of lack of access to PPE.
While the LRF’s service has been intended only for use when supplies cannot be sourced from elsewhere, it has been the main or only source of supply for many providers.
Now the county council has taken the decision not to charge for any of the PPE provided before 13 July. There will be a charge from then on for items ordered through and purchased by the LRF. The cost will be based on the price SCC has paid for the stock with no profit sought.
Sinead Mooney, Surrey County Council’s Cabinet Member for Adults and Public Health, said: “We want to do all we can to ease the burden on services who have worked so hard to support the most vulnerable people in our county during a national emergency which has had far-reaching consequences on so many areas of life.
“We along with our partners have been focused on equipping care and health services who have relied on the Local Resilience Forum for emergency supplies and hope they will welcome this news that charges for purchased stock are being waived.”
Erica Lockhart, Chief Executive of the Surrey Care Association, said: “The emergency supply of PPE at no charge to care providers was an incredible help at a time when the pandemic was at a peak and normal suppliers were unable to supply and when they could deliver it was at inflated prices.
“PPE as was recommended in Public Health guidance for use in care settings was a new directive for Surrey care providers and this supply helped the care services to adapt to the changing environment to provide safe care for their residents and people in the community.”
The county council is drawing on additional funding it has received from the Government to deal with the impact of the coronavirus outbreak. The council is also distributing the Infection Control Fund received from Government to care providers across the county to help contain the spread of the virus. A small proportion of this funding is being retained to contribute towards the costs of PPE purchased by the council before 13 July.