Covid: Care house staff without PPE at start of pandemic MPs

Care house personnel lacked personal protective devices (PPE) early in the pandemic because the federal government prioritised the NHS, MPs have stated.

The Commons Public Accounts Committee stated care houses received only a fraction of the PPE needed compared with the health service.

It stated social care “was only taken seriously after the high death rate in care homes became apparent”.

The federal government stated it worked “tirelessly” to offer PPE.

The report from the general public Accounts Committee said many healthcare employees were put in an “terrible scenario” where they needed to take care of individuals with Covid-19 or suspected Covid-19 “without sufficient PPE to safeguard themselves from infection”.

It said the social care sector did not get “anywhere near adequate” to fulfill its needs.

Health and social care staff suffered PPE scarcities, it stated, with some required to reuse single-use items as stocks ran “perilously low”.

In Between March and July 2020, the Department of Health and Social Care supplied NHS trusts with 1.9 billion items of PPE, the comparable to 80% of their approximated need.

The adult social care sector were offered 331 million products, representing 10% of its requirements.

At the very same time, about 25,000 clients were released to care homes from hospitals without being evaluated for Covid-19.

“This contributed substantially to the deaths in care homes throughout the first wave,” the committee said.

Its report stated the federal government had believed it was well put to cope at the start of the break out, as it had a stockpile of PPE.

However this was just meant for an influenza pandemic and was “inadequate” for the coronavirus pandemic.

More than ₤ 12bn was spent by the Department of Health and Social Care in between February and July 2020 on 32 billion products of PPE.

Nevertheless, the committee stated numerous millions of pounds of taxpayers’ cash was “lost” on unusable kit.

Personnel reported receiving face masks with rotten elastic and, in one case, a box of surgical gowns which was infested with pests.

Committee chairman Meg Hillier said frontline employees were left “without sufficient supplies, risking their own and their households’ lives to offer treatment and care”.

“The federal government needs to acknowledge the mistakes and be much better prepared,” she stated.

The report came after 2 extremely crucial reports published by the National Audit Office in November last year.

In a statement, the Department of Health and Social Care stated it worked “tirelessly to procure, produce and deliver PPE” to frontline employees.

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