There has been unprecedented, global demand for personal protective equipment (PPE) as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. In the UK, PPE is bought by the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) and NHS Supply Chain and distributed to NHS trusts directly and to non-acute healthcare (primary care providers) and social care via the PPE portal, local authorities, local resilience forums (LRFs), wholesalers and the NSDR helpline.
The DHSC PPE strategy provides details of the arrangements for primary care.
The PPE portal can be used by social care and primary care providers to get critical COVID-19 PPE. COVID-19 PPE is classed as the PPE that providers are required to use over and above what would have been used before the pandemic (business as usual), as per the COVID-19 infection control guidance.
We encourage all NHS primary care providers, including community pharmacy, dentists, orthodontists, general practice and optometry, to ensure they have registered on the PPE portal in order to receive PPE supplies free of charge. Details of PPE and order limits for each provider group can be found here.
If providers have any queries or have not received an email invitation, please contact the DHSC PPE portal customer services between 7am to 7pm, 7 days a week, on 0800 876 6802. If you have a query or concern about a PPE product please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Accessing additional supplies
Additional supplies of PPE continue to be made available to wholesalers that routinely supply to GPs, dentists, pharmacies, social care and hospices. Regional NHS leadership teams are working with individual trusts to support mutual aid and redistribution of supplies to meet clinical need.
Additional PPE from local authorities (LA) and local resilience forums (LRFs) can be made available to primary care providers based on clinical need e.g. a demonstrable spike in local COVID-19 cases or in the event of supply disruption via the portal. LA and LRF contact details for each region is available here.
For business-as-usual and non-clinical grade PPE needs all providers should continue accessing their normal supply routes.
On 8 June 2020, primary care dental services (general dental practices and community dental services) were able to resume face-to-face care (both routine and urgent) for appropriate patient groups once they have appropriate social distancing and other safety measures in place.
As per the NHS and OCDO Standard operating procedure: Transition to recovery, primary dental care providers may carry out both non-AGP and AGP care, subject to availability of the appropriate PPE and in line with infection prevention and control dental guidance.
Accessing urgent supplies
Any organisation running critically short of PPE, and has exhausted other supply routes, can phone the National Supply Distribution Response (NSDR) on 0800 915 9964 for an urgent delivery.
Information for NHS Trusts and Foundation Trusts
Please visit the COVID-19 secondary care section.
Other information and resources
Information about infection prevention and control (IPC) PPE guidance.