A DELAYED peak in coronavirus infections in Dorset could put pressure on its supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE), a council chief executive has warned.
BCP Council boss Graham Farrant said it had “adequate” stocks for the level of work its staff were doing and had been able to help struggling care providers, writes Josh Wright of the Local Democracy Reporting Service.
But speaking at a recent meeting of its scrutiny board, he warned that a future increase in infections in the region could put a strain on supplies.
PPE has been a hot topic nationally with concerns raised that some frontline NHS and social care workers were lacking vital gear.
The south-west has been the region least affected by coronavirus, and in Dorset only 623 confirmed infections have been recorded.
Mr Farrant said the council had enough PPE to equip healthcare workers but had experienced delays receiving supplies from government.
On the afternoon of Friday 10th April, BCP Council, via the county-wide local resilience forum, was told extra stock would be provided that weekend and staff were organised to receive it. However, the delivery did not arrive until almost a week later.
“We haven’t had the same extremes that other regions have had,” Mr Farrant said. “That has enabled us to get by.
“If there is a delayed peak here then I could see that becoming a real issue for us but so far we have managed to get by and have adequate supplies.”
Regional variations in the impact of the pandemic were acknowledged by the deputy chief medical officer for England, Jenny Harries, last Thursday. She said this made it “so important” that both health and social care workers had access to “the right kit”.
Following government guidance, the council has also been providing PPE to some private care providers which had been unable to source stocks.
“In terms of the overall care sector, the availability of PPE has been a major issue,” the council’s director of adult social care, Jan Thurgood, said.
“There are supply chains which directly service the delivery of PPE to the adult social care sector but they have not always been working with consistency through this period.
“We made a decision as a council in early April that we would be open to requests from social care providers which did not have PPE and we have put in place a system whereby they can come to the council for a supply of PPE.
“We have been able to assist but it remains a concern in the sector.”
As a result, councillors have agreed to form a working board to monitor the issue, led by the chair of its health scrutiny board, Cllr Lisa Northover.