College offers support to new “PPE Tsar” for England

The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow has joined with the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh and the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh to write to Lord Paul Deighton, the newly appointed advisor to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care on PPE.

College offers support to new “PPE Tsar” for England

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The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow has joined with the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh and the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh to write to Lord Paul Deighton, the newly appointed advisor to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care on PPE.

In their joint letter, the Presidents of the three royal colleges welcome this new appointment as a positive step towards ensuring that health care professionals and others have access to the necessary PPE to carry out their roles safely, but caution that the provision of PPE remains an acute concern in some areas of the UK.

The full text of the letter is as follows:

Dear Lord Deighton,     

COVID-19: supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE)

We are writing to congratulate you on your appointment as PPE ‘Tsar’. You will of course have a vital role to play in ensuring that our health and care workers are protected through adequate supplies of high-grade PPE, during the COVID-19 pandemic. As Colleges which collectively represent 60,000 clinicians across the UK, including in England, we welcome your appointment and offer you our full support. Furthermore, we would welcome an early opportunity to discuss our Members’ views on the situation regarding PPE in all parts of the UK.

You may be interested to note that as part of the UK Academy of Medical Royal Colleges and Faculties (the ‘UK Academy’), we have regularly fed into discussions with the Chief Medical Officers for England and Scotland, regarding PPE. We have welcomed the revised guidance on PPE, after lobbying the UK Government and devolved administrations, including the Scottish Government, to ensure that health and care workers have the protection they need to stay safe and remain on the frontline.

However, the provision of PPE remains an acute concern in some areas of the UK. Conversations with colleagues across the UK continue to tell the same story – most places are provided adequately, but some are not. We share the concerns of colleagues in the UK Academy about the PPE re-use guidelines, and we believe that the procurement and provision of adequate new supplies is clearly preferred to re-use of PPE items only intended for single use.

Finally, we would urge transparency at UK national level regarding the stocks of PPE available, as well as an action plan outlining what PPE can be expected by primary, secondary and community care – and when healthcare workers in these sectors can expect to receive PPE.

We would be grateful for an early opportunity to discuss the matters above at a time and date of your convenience. In the meantime, we wish you the greatest success in your new role.

Kind regards,

Professor Andrew Elder, President, Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh

Professor Jackie Taylor, President, Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow

Professor Michael Griffin OBE, President, Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh


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