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Why's it taking so long

PPE and the home front

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Female
wonderoushen  Female  Gwynedd
22-Apr-2020 10:20 Message #4777594
We keep seeing on the news about the shortage of PPE and yet many smaller firms have offered to help, individuals with sewing machines have also been ignored. Theres been a lot of analogies to WW2 during this virus, but the one thats being ignored is the homefront, OK someone at home with a sewing machine may only be able to make a couple of gowns a day, but given the shortages I suspect that many would be grateful for them.

This is an area along with testing where the government seems keen to only engage with high volume producers often from overseas with all the logistical problems that come with it, why should someone not be able to keep their local hospital, nursing homes, dentists or GP's in PPE, they may only be able to make a few thousand a day, but if it needed it seems churlish and irresponsible to say no. Independent labs and university labs have still not been cleared to do testing, why's it taking so long, they have the capacity and staff to do it.

All the brave talk from government from a month ago is starting to look and sound rather hollow.
Male
Hierophant  Male  East Anglia
22-Apr-2020 10:37 Message #4777596
The problem is it's not as simple as the media are making out, they have jumped on this subject but are not telling us the full story.
Of course there is lots of false stuff on twitter, but there are also some very informative threads from people directly involved in PPE manufacturing and procurement - there are lots of scam producers springing up and these all have to be checked for validity before the govt can commit to buying from them.
I have no doubt the Govt have messed up a bit too, but as ever the reality is somewhere in the middle.
Much is being made of this EU scheme that the Govt has or has not signed up too, but we hear that not a single item of PPE has been delivered via this scheme as yet.

A lot more is coming out now about how quiet many hospitals are in reality and many videos are surfacing of nurses and staff playing silly buggers because they have nothing to do. Riding about on expensive medical equipment, pretending to be in the film Titanic whilst wasting PPE.
Given that many non-covid stuff has been cancelled such as cancer treatment, it must be galling for many people to see nurses with little to do other than choreograph videos to go on social media, let alone the exhausted and emotional staff in ICU who are caring for sick patients.
Something really doesn't make sense....
Male
terry  Male  West Yorkshire
22-Apr-2020 10:59 Message #4777598
Although my comment might seem like a government or capitalism bashing rant, I think part of the issue is at a governmental level we haven't got rid of the mindset of buying big from big companies; the logistics of shipping the goods isn't the difficulty, the manufacturing to the standards required needs careful quality assesments but again, it's not insurmountable...I suspect - and this is where I may be wrong or get slated - I think there's still a lot of jobs for the boys in it.

On the subject of nhs staff dancing and seemingly 'enjoying' themselves, the staff on the CC unit I was in last week were doing between 12 and 15 hour shifts, they were saving lives and having to be there at end of lives....as far as I'm concerned if they want to dance for ten or fifteen minutes let them dance, we've shit on them for over ten years and now we're expecting them to give everything, including their lives; let them dance.
Male
Colonel_Blink  Male  Buckinghamshire
22-Apr-2020 11:30 Message #4777605
I've also spent a lot of time in hospitals recently and in one sense the do appear quieter as there are no drunks fighting in a&e and a the patients needing routine treatments are missing but I think the hospitals themselves have become much more efficient and streamlined in anticipation of being a lot busier than usual which isn't necessarily the case.
The PPE has become more of a press issue than a medical one. There seems to be a constant fear of running low on equipment but in all three hospitals I've attended this hasn't happened. Probably hanging on by the skin of their teeth but hanging on. I know there have been several instances of small companies attempting to cash in on providing PPE when they are not equipped to do so and apparently when checked some of these companies only began trading in the past few weeks so dodgy at best.
I don't know how many genuine small companies are providing equipment but at least one I know of is local and providing face visors from a private house so it does happen.
Busy emergency staff letting themselves relax with a few laughs is very much the norm and good for them and shame on the press, once again, for inventing news.
Male
BOYDEL  Male  Surrey
22-Apr-2020 11:35 Message #4777608
There was a TV news article about a group of 3 hospitals flagging that every day they get through over 17000 items of PPE - with certain items needing to be changed many times daily so the volume of PPE needed is absolutely massive.

The other associated issue is PPE for Care Homes (mostly private nowadays) who also should have reacted sooner than most did to garner a suitably large supply of PPE - but like UK Govt once you end up in a queue behind half the world you have no chance. Ditto Home Carers where their Private Care Agencies have little PPE to offer.
Female
JustLyn  Female  Cheshire
22-Apr-2020 12:30 Message #4777614
Unfortunately we get fools in every line of work if they can get away with it, but I did learn as a nurse on a busy surgical heart ward we were very professional, it was a pride to work with such a wonderful team. We often were called on to work double shifts, starting at 7am, then leaving at 9pm

BUT, just very occasionally, the ward was quiet when half the beds had been cleared for the next intake the next morning. If other wards were struggling we would go to help, but just now and again we had fun.

Maybe nurses gowned up had to stay gowned up to save PPE because they were on call?

However busy they are, one of the annoying things in nursing is being seen to be busy 100% of the time, because if you are there is no slack to cope with emergencies without leaving another patient.
Female
JustLyn  Female  Cheshire
22-Apr-2020 12:42 Message #4777620
As for PPE, I'm sure there are rogue suppliers, but the Government could have done much earlier what they are doing now, and organised procurement contacts experienced in identifying authentic producers.

According to an interview on Today BBC this morning, they have turned out offers from EU for us to join them in a procurement deal. One MP leaked this then was forced to retract it later, but there is more evidence to show this was actually the case.

As another poster rightly said maybe Gilpin, being engaged as part of Europe does not necessarily equate with an EU arrangement. Geography dictates they will always be our neighbours.

Many genuine suppliers have said their offers to supply have been ignored.

On top of that. Staff laundry services with taken away years ago to reduce costs so you can't suddenly pick up washing even washable PPE with the huge impact of additional patient laundry needs.

I am currently disgusted to see health workers and carers out walking their dogs in uniform displaying name badges. They should be getting training to not wear their uniforms out of work.
Male
HotOrWot  Male  Lancashire
22-Apr-2020 12:52 Message #4777625
I've also spent a lot of time in hospitals recently and in one sense the do appear quieter as there are no drunks fighting in a&e and a the patients needing routine treatments are missing but I think the hospitals themselves have become much more efficient and streamlined in anticipation of being a lot busier than usual which isn't necessarily the case.
The PPE has become more of a press issue than a medical one. There seems to be a constant fear of running low on equipment but in all three hospitals I've attended this hasn't happened. Probably hanging on by the skin of their teeth but hanging on. I know there have been several instances of small companies attempting to cash in on providing PPE when they are not equipped to do so and apparently when checked some of these companies only began trading in the past few weeks so dodgy at best.
I don't know how many genuine small companies are providing equipment but at least one I know of is local and providing face visors from a private house so it does happen.
Busy emergency staff letting themselves relax with a few laughs is very much the norm and good for them and shame on the press, once again, for inventing news.


Good post I agree completely.
Female
Victoriana11  Female  Buckinghamshire
22-Apr-2020 13:25 Message #4777631
The customer in front of me in Aldi the other day was a nurse in uniform, and she was wearing her mask too, no gloves though. Her driver husband didnt have any protection.
We were all sanitised on entry & exit to the shop which was good.
Female
Gilpin  Female  Middlesex
22-Apr-2020 15:49 Message #4777644
It seems, several reasons. Gov. did not join the EU procurement scheme, preferring to go its own way with herd immunity, and very probably just not taking the virus seriously. After seeing what it did to China, I just don't understand how they were thinking.

Even now, there have been two separate claims of them ignoring offers from the public, individuals/small companies offering to make items of PPE. Why is that. Why have care homes staff been ignored, and care homes themselves put on a back burner, deaths not listed in fatalities, why is there still no coordinated response to these frontline workers.

I believe the PPE from Turkey has arrived, I think after being collected by us. I wonder how quickly they are going to set about distributing this.

No idea where their testing programme has got to. Matt Hancocks 100,00 promise by the end of the month, will be his death nell if he doesn't deliver.
Male
BOYDEL  Male  Surrey
22-Apr-2020 16:26 Message #4777648
Majority of Care Homes are now privately owned so it's owners' responsibility to source PPE as well as forward plan for when needs may escalate - seemingly they too were slow off the mark.

Care Home residents are obviously sitting ducks with CV as Carers are of course widely circulating in the community and are not being tested for CV unless they are able to drive many miles to one of the new drive in testing stations - and many are not car owners as the sector is poorly paid.

In an ideal world all Carers/NHS staff would be tested daily at their work place - unless already tested positive and isolated for the mandatory 14 days.
Male
Hierophant  Male  East Anglia
22-Apr-2020 16:34 Message #4777650
To give you some idea of what the govt are dealing with re PPE procurement I copied this from Guido online.
Rachel Reeves is a Labour MP.

Rachel Reeves has sent a letter to the Government, criticising PPE procurement to date and attaching what she insists is a helpful list of companies offering to help supply the national effort. Closer inspection shows the letter to contain duplicate providers, and include some less than helpful, Del Boy-ish time-wasting chancers. Guido has looked into what potential PPE providers Labour is asking the Government to explore…

A football agent company run by a professional football agent offering to provide “ventilators”. Really?

A historical clothing company offering to make up to 175 gowns a week – or fewer than one gown per hospital per week. Its products currently include a sixteenth century silk bodice. Gowns need to be single use and made to advanced, exacting specifications from specific fabrics. Guido’s not sure this is where the Government should be spending time chasing up…

A lady called Bella Gonshorovitz who makes clothes to measure and has a Go Fund Me page offering to make up to 500 gowns a week. Just under 1.5 per hospital per week. Does she really have the medically approved resources for this specialist task?

The Whent, a Company that exists to reduce dependence on plastic, peculiarly offering to produce tests and also gloves. Medical gloves must be made to exacting specifications and are largely made of plastic. The company currently makes canned mineral water but is now offering to make Covid tests…

An events company in Surrey offering “supplying masks and respirators from China”. The company claims to provide the “ultimate corporate day experience…[with] delicious cuisine from sushi to sandwiches, hot and cold buffets, BBQ, breakfast, snacks and lunch”. Great, just no mention of advanced medical equipment like respirators…

A private legal practice in Birmingham with only two employees and no website offering to provide scrubs and gowns. How?..

A provider of ‘wholesale electronic and telecommunications parts and equipment’ that doesn’t appear to be an active company has offered to provide 250,000 plastic aprons and masks as well as hand sanitiser. They don’t even have a website…

One company only incorporated in February 2020 that has only one director and shareholder. There’s no evidence of it ever having conducted any business…
Female
JustLyn  Female  Cheshire
22-Apr-2020 16:35 Message #4777651
In an ideal world care homes would be part of the national plan and be included in forward care planning whereas now the owners are incentivised to keep as much profit as possible.

Care home staff by one company have been asked to move in and not get any extra pay.
Female
JustLyn  Female  Cheshire
22-Apr-2020 16:38 Message #4777652
The Conservative MInister for Care just said the UK is a major importer of PPE and she is proud of it, when we have so many willing to produce it here in UK and are not being contacted back, and having to get rid of it abroad. Ridiculous situation and a logistics bungling.

Female
Bewildered  Female  Norfolk
22-Apr-2020 16:51 Message #4777654
The amount of PPE hospitals are getting through is enormous.
On a shift you could get through 3 or 4 gowns as have to remove and bin when taking a break..
Masks also , as you can easily contaminate by mistake when touching, lifting it...
Its not as simple as many may think....
Male
Maglorian  Male  North Yorkshire
22-Apr-2020 18:52 Message #4777668
Keir Starmer has clearly had a disappointingly underwhelming start to his leadership of the Labour Party, but facing a slow-witted dullard like Dominic Raab in his first Prime Ministers' Questions was exactly the kind of break he needed, and he certainly took advantage of it.

The bit everyone will remember concerned the abject lack of Covid-19 testing and the shocking discrepancy between testing capacity (which the Tories keep banging on about) and actual tests carried out (which they don't like to talk about).

Starmer pointed out that the actual number of tests carried out yesterday was just 18,000, which is less than half of the 40,000 testing capacity figure the Tories keep bragging about.

With all of the wit and intellectual dexterity of a medium sized rock Raab attempted to correct Starmer by bringing up the testing capacity figure again, illustrating that he hadn't even understood the question he'd been asked.

"I didn't need correcting because I gave the figure for the actual tests" was Starmer's acerbic riposte.

He then went on to highlight the problem that most people will already have spotted in this disparity between testing capacity, and actual tests carried out.

If there's capacity for 40,000 tests, but less than half of that number are actually being done, this means the government is abjectly failing to get the tests to where they're needed.

It's not like there isn't sufficient demand.

Care homes are crying out for tests for their staff and residents, and pretty much everyone in Britain knows someone who has had coronavirus symptoms and would really appreciate a test to know if they've got it or not.

And if the tests aren't being used on people with symptoms, then get started on contact tracing, for heaven's sake.

Raab's next blibber-blabbering response was to frame the testing situation as a "supply vs demand" issue, but anyone claiming there's "insufficient demand" for tests is just lying through their teeth.

There's loads of demand, and the labs have worked hard to increase supply, so the gap between testing capacity and tests carried out clearly has nothing to do with "supply and demand" and everything to do with distribution failing.

The Tories are trying to talk up the testing capacity figure because it's higher, and they think it makes them look better.

But in fact it makes them look an awful lot worse, because the labs have worked hard to increase testing capacity, but as a result of abject government incompetence, all of this extra testing capacity is simply being wasted.

The bigger the gap between testing capacity and tests carried out, the worse a job the government is doing.

Credit to Starmer for raising this discrepancy and explaining that it represents distribution failure (although it'll probably need explaining another 300,000,34,974,000 times for the likes of Raab and his ilk to actually understand the point being made).
Female
wonderoushen  Female  Gwynedd
22-Apr-2020 19:11 Message #4777672
I agree that there will be some trying to rip the system off, but there will be plenty of other genuine companies wanting to help, who have the ability to help, but are being blocked by a government intent on buying from massive international companies, I think that outsourcing and manufacturing stuff ourselves is really starting to come home to roost now, for years we've been happy to outsource abroad to companies many in China who have appalling records on things like safety of workers, human rights, ecological protections rather than keep a manufacturing base here. Now everyone wants PPE and there dosen't seem like theres enough of it to go round and its going to the highest bidder, the NHS should be such a big purchaser that it will get priority, but instead as I understand it in England all sort of pieces were hived off to make their own arrangements and any sort of central buying or collective bargaining was lost, do we still think this is acceptable?

What do people think about the testing stations and the distances people are having to travel to get to them and the fact that many are drive through only? On the news earlier I heard about a care home where they were told they would have to travel from Bath to Worcester to get a test, a 3 hour drive, or a woman who was told she'd have to go from Cumbria to Stanstead airport, how can you be asked and expected to make those sort of journey's? Not everyone has a car, we're being told to drive in case we break down and have to be rescued, is it wise to drive for hours if you're feeling unwell and how can you ask someone to drive you when youmight have CV19?

Maybe nurses are wearing thier scrubs to go shopping because of the hostility from all the Tin Pot Hitlers trying to police the legitimate behaviour of others? Maybe they've just got off a shift and are on their way home?
Male
Hierophant  Male  East Anglia
22-Apr-2020 19:20 Message #4777677
Because in infection control training you are taught that your uniform is for wearing inside the building only.
Think about it, they get droplets on the uniform at work then wear it home, stop at Tesco on the way and their kids give them a hug when they get home.
The same applies going to work too...
Female
NoSaint  Female  Devon
22-Apr-2020 19:22 Message #4777678
Colonel_Blink Male Buckinghamshire 22-Apr-2020 11:30 new Message #4777605
I've also spent a lot of time in hospitals recently and in one sense the do appear quieter as there are no drunks fighting in a&e and a the patients needing routine treatments are missing but I think the hospitals themselves have become much more efficient and streamlined in anticipation of being a lot busier than usual which isn't necessarily the case.
The PPE has become more of a press issue than a medical one. There seems to be a constant fear of running low on equipment but in all three hospitals I've attended this hasn't happened. Probably hanging on by the skin of their teeth but hanging on. I know there have been several instances of small companies attempting to cash in on providing PPE when they are not equipped to do so and apparently when checked some of these companies only began trading in the past few weeks so dodgy at best.
I don't know how many genuine small companies are providing equipment but at least one I know of is local and providing face visors from a private house so it does happen.
Busy emergency staff letting themselves relax with a few laughs is very much the norm and good for them and shame on the press, once again, for inventing news.


You raise a lot of good points and I know several small companies trying to take advantage of the government at a time they are hoping that the urgency of the pandemic will prevent them being caught out. I also agree with wonderoushen that there are other genuine companies not being used.
With hindsight there are a lot of things which could have been done differently but I've seen no other politicians in the British political system who I feel would have done a better job or even an equal job.
I've no criticisms of the nurses.
Female
Bewildered  Female  Norfolk
22-Apr-2020 19:31 Message #4777679
Hierophant, they wear uniform to work then change into scrubs , and gowns .... uniforms are not warn on the ward with Covid patients...
Male
Hierophant  Male  East Anglia
22-Apr-2020 19:40 Message #4777680
So why do we see people outside wearing scrubs?...
Female
JustLyn  Female  Cheshire
22-Apr-2020 20:18 Message #4777683
One of the standards that seemed to drop was that a nurses uniform had to be left at work and if you were saw outside in it you were in trouble for risking contamination.
What would be the point of wearing a uniform then changing into scrubs, theatre staff just used to go in what they called mufty, their own clothes.

I know it's harking back a bit, but they were so keen on the nurses doing "sterile technique" in masks and gloves and aprons, taken on and off in a particular way, even just to do wound care post surgery, but the the surgeon would come round AFTER we had just cleaned everything, not wash his hands and peel off and pat back down what we had meticulously dressed.
Sorry, but of a rant, but it used to really irritate me.

Now, with all this MRSA etc, we have nurses standing at bus stops with the same clothes they are going into a hospital ward with. The only exception would be a district nurse.

My nephew is a senior nurse on intensive care and he doesn't walk about shopping in his work clothes, he just carries his NHS ID card.

Covid or not, I think it's a backward move to be out in public with a uniform.
Female
Gilpin  Female  Middlesex
22-Apr-2020 20:32 Message #4777685
"Boydel

Majority of Care Homes are now privately owned so it's owners' responsibility to source PPE as well as forward plan for when needs may escalate - seemingly they too were slow off the mark."
…………………………………

Does that somehow exonerate the government? Who themselves were very slow off the mark. Would private or not private care homes not take their cue from what the government is or is not advising, recommending, not doing themselves? Why would private care homes source PPE if the government is not giving it a priority themselves?
Female
Gilpin  Female  Middlesex
22-Apr-2020 20:45 Message #4777688
Do you by any chance work for HM Gov. Boydel? :)

Though hat's ok I once in my innocence worked for a main political party.
Male
Maglorian  Male  North Yorkshire
22-Apr-2020 22:14 Message #4777700
Sir Liam Donaldson former chief medical officer yesterday that the emergency stores of PPE have been drastically depleted since his time in office 2009.

Austerity! The Tories sacked 10,000 NHS back room staff and boasted about it, saying they were cutting waste. Back room staff are people who monitor stock levels of PPE; who carry out risk assesments such as preparedness for pandemics. From a purely ecomonic point of view, without even properly considering the social implications (though they can never be completely separated) austerity has been exposed by this crisis as short-term, illogical, unintelligent and chaotic, the epitome of bad planning.

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