Image - lbrut-ppe-letter-hancock

Care homes and home care providers in Richmond upon Thames are turning to the Council for help, after the distribution of PPE is branded as “dangerously inadequate” says Richmond Council Leader.

Over the past few weeks many care providers have struggled to source vital protective equipment needed to protect residents and staff, with homes receiving random and often incomplete deliveries of essential items such as masks, gloves and aprons; items which are mandatory for all healthcare workers.

Cllr Gareth Roberts, the Leader of Richmond Council, has slammed the Government’s “dangerously inadequate” approach to distributing the equipment. Currently care home and home care providers source their PPE from either Government ‘short term’ supply or purchase PPE from private companies. Despite reassurances that these companies are fully stocked and able to deliver on all orders, care agencies are reporting that they are still not receiving all they need as distributors are struggling to keep up.

In a letter to the Minister, Matt Hancock MP, Cllr Roberts asked for urgent action. Demanding “sustainable, consistent, and a fully available array of PPE- a promise which has simply not been delivered.”

Cllr Gareth Roberts, said:

“The distribution of PPE is dangerously inadequate and is putting lives at risk; the lives of those both giving and receiving care.

“We have 48 care homes and many home care agencies in Richmond upon Thames, looking after around 1,400 residents. If a home care worker sees 10 people on their shift, that could be 10 pairs of gloves, masks, aprons. If there are 20 staff doing this in one day, that is 200 a day. That is 1,400 a week just for one agency; similar numbers are used in our large care homes”.

“As a borough, so far we have received just 5,500 pieces of PPE from the Government. It is simple mathematics. The Government needs to act faster than this, the Government needs to do better than this. We need sustainable, consistent, and a fully available array of PPE- a promise which has simply not been delivered.

“We are not trying to divert PPE resources from the NHS. But, people must not forget - if we want patients to get out of hospital, we need care homes and people to be cared for at home. If care providers don’t have the equipment - residents will be stuck in hospital.

“Care homes and home care provide a vital service to ease the strain on the NHS. Theresa May famously pledged to support those who were ‘Just About Managing’. Our care providers are ‘just about managing’, but with supplies running out they won’t be able to do this for much longer. So, my ask of Mr Hancock is simple; ‘Will you get to grips with this pressing crisis? I’m afraid unless this is urgently addressed the stark reality is that more people will die.”

– from a Richmond Council press release - 17 April 2020