I was recently approached, interviewed and filmed by Sky News on the extreme challenges facing the whole of the social care sector regarding adequate supplies and provision of PPE for frontline care workers: a subject that I know continues to make the headlines on a daily basis.
We are assured by the Government that there is adequate PPE to go round for everyone and yet that is definitely not what I am hearing. My experience is somewhat different; from reduced manufacturing capacity due to factories having been in lockdown, coupled with a huge spike in worldwide demand, NHS procuring our regularly ordered stocks of essential PPE, unscrupulous companies profiteering from this crisis with no due care to the quality of product they are supplying, suspicious certificates used as a basis for CE marking of PPE including FFP2 and 3 masks and eye protection to name but a few of the challenges we are currently facing.
How do we know who we can trust?
I hope that you know that here at Hcsuk, we are very particular about the quality, value and specification of products we are happy to recommend.
In this current climate, I am offered disposable face masks and hand sanitisers by the pallet load, on a daily basis, by faceless contacts, at vastly inflated prices, origin unknown and available sometime in the future, as long as we pay up front in full, and forego any rights to cancel of return the orders.
With regular reports on out of date, dirty masks which fail to meet quality standards and have questionable certification being delivered, this is not a risk I can take on behalf of my customers or my business.
Only yesterday, I received this lovely feedback from one customer:
‘I completely agree with you and everything you do and 100% agree that we are lucky to have a supplier like you who is ethical and believes in quality’
The British Safety Industry Federation (BSIF) posted the below information with regard to fake PPE products and the verification of Certificates and Declarations of Conformity:
'The majority of certificates that we see are clearly not legitimate but there are occasions when documents have been forged and they have to be checked with Notified Bodies.
If you are presented with certificates which you are unsure of you can check their authenticity through the following portals.
We are constantly reporting the instances to Trading Standards and The Office for Product Safety and Standards and we will continue to do this. The COVID 19 crisis and the shortages have seen an incredible number of spurious offers from opportunist importers trying to take advantage. Don’t be caught out.'
So, in the absence of any credible supplies of disposable face masks, we have decided to think outside of the box and source an alternative face mask solution for our customers, which is manufactured in a UK factory with swift lead times.
Through our membership of British Healthcare Trades Association, which operates under a strict code of conduct for fair trading, and is overseen by Trading Standards, I have made contact with a UK manufacturer of pressure relieving equipment, who, like so many have adapted their manufacturing activities to do their bit and help fight COVID-19 by manufacturing a non-disposable respirator mask.
The manufacturers have put a lot of thought into the design, functionality and safety of this mask to ensure it is lightweight and comfortable for the wearer whilst also meeting infection control protocols and being effective against both droplets and airborne particles, making it superior in quality to the surgeons masks and giving peace of mind to both staff and providers that they are getting enhanced protection.
We have already had some very positive feedback on the masks, that they are very ‘lightweight and comfortable’ and that the staff feel ‘very safe and protected wearing them’
They are currently in use in their thousand in NHS hospitals, care homes, GP surgeries and community councils.
We already have an order placed with the manufacturer and will have stock in and available next week, so no long lead times prevail!
Please know we are continuing to do everything in our power to source quality and affordable PPE solutions, I am spending the majority of my time on this mission to help keep our #carehome customers, #careworkers and #carehomeresidents safe and protected.
If you would like any more information or to talk to someone regarding the respirator masks the please don’t hesitate to contact us on 01773 713713 or email us at [email protected]