HSE in ‘huge effort’ to stockpile PPE for second wave

HSE responds to fears of inadequate PPE in the event of a second Covid-19 wave

The Health Service Executive (HSE) has assured healthcare workers (HCWs) that it has made “enormous efforts” to address their fears of inadequate personal protection equipment (PPE) in the likelihood of a second wave of the Covid-19 disease in Ireland.

More than 1,700 HCWs in Ireland have been diagnosed with the virus since the first case was detected at the beginning of March.

Yesterday (June 18), the leader of the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) said the figure – which included almost 500 practising doctors – was a matter of “huge concern” as he called for improved access to PPE for frontline workers.

In response, the HSE said it has made “enormous efforts to secure the levels of PPE necessary to manage and contain the Covid-19” as it planned for a resurgence in the virus.

“Currently our supply lines are considered to be robust and supply is meeting demand,” a spokesman told Irish Medical Times (IMT).

“The HSE is currently working on a long-term strategy for PPE, including establishing national pandemic stocks, developing indigenous manufacturing, reducing supply chain risk and re-use of particular PPE product lines, such as gowns and goggles.”

IMO President Dr Padraig McGarry yesterday told IMT  (https://www.imt.ie/news/stockpile-ppe-second-wave-hits-imo-18-06-2020/) he believed it was critical the HSE and the Government investigate – and mitigate against – the reasons for the high rate of infection among HCWs before the second wave hits.

“The issues around PPE were of huge concern to medical professionals in the early days of the pandemic and there is no doubt that supply was inadequate and the standard of the equipment was not consistent so we need at an absolute minimum guarantees that sufficient supplies of high quality PPE are in place in preparation for an expected second wave,” Dr McGarry added.

Earlier this week (June 17), IMT (https://www.imt.ie/news/almost-500-doctors-ireland-diagnosed-covid-19-17-06-2020/) reported that out of 8,123 HCWs diagnosed with the virus, 491 were practising doctors, 2,637 were nurses, and 2,097 were healthcare assistants. The total figure also included 90 porters, and 1,898 allied HCWs (physiotherapists, radiographers, speech and language therapists, administration staff, catering, and domestic staff).

The roles of almost 12 per cent of the total HCWs (910) were listed as ‘unknown’.

Peter.doyle@imt.ie

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