April 14, 2020 @ 10:44 by Alison Cowie
The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has organised a webinar about how companies can assist with the production and distribution of protective equipment for the NHS and front-line workers.
The organisation is urging firms with the skills or expertise that could be harnessed to get involved, as well as those who have skills that could be useful for the fight, including the suppliers, lawyers, logistics and others needed to make this critical endeavour happen.
CBI regional director for the North East Sarah Glendinning said: “We know many companies in the North East are already engaged with this, but we want to spread the word even further so to coordinate this and make a collective action plan to respond to this challenge.”
The webinar will take place at 11.30am tomorrow (April 15), with registration via the CBI website.
Currently, any clinician working in a hospital, primary care or community care setting within two metres of a suspected or confirmed coronavirus COVID-19 patient should wear an apron, gloves, surgical mask and eye protection, based on the risk. In the past few weeks, the NHS Supply Chain has delivered 397 million pieces of PPE equipment including, masks, surgical masks and other PPE equipment to NHS trusts and 58,000 healthcare settings including GPs, pharmacies and community providers, but more is critically needed.
The Government is looking at ‘all options’ to increase the manufacture of protective equipment like aprons, gowns, face masks and hand sanitizers, including the potential re-opening of furloughed factories as part of the collective national effort.
The equipment challenge is not just targeted at the critical NHS and social care front line but will support all sorts of sectors like food and drink, but also deliveries, logistics and the manufacturing sector too where people have to be at work and have requirements for key protective equipment.
Sarah Glendinning added: “Protecting NHS and social care staff on the frontline is vitally important. But it’s not just them. From people carrying out essential work in food manufacture or Post Offices and delivery drivers, all key workers need protective gear and we are committed to helping to secure it for them.
“These people are the fifth emergency service in times like these. I believe that businesses and firms in region could play a key role and I’m calling on anyone who thinks they could play a part, even a small part, to sign up to the webinar and see if you can.
“We are in a battle and many businesses who can are stepping up to the plate. We all can play our role and make a difference and this is another way we can protect those who are going above and beyond in this crisis.
“It is absolutely right that frontline staff have the appropriate protective equipment so they are safe and can have the confidence they need to do their jobs.”