News

Media And Political Bulletin – 17 April 2020

Media and Political Bulletin

17 April 2020

Media Summary

Accessing supplies of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

NHS England

There is unprecedented, global demand for personal protective equipment as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. NHS England reports that the UK has released its pandemic influenza stockpiles, which included many types of PPE required for tackling COVID-19, and new logistics networks have been established to manage supply and demand across the UK, and to make sure appropriate PPE reaches those who need it.

A new online ordering site is being developed and will enable primary care, community care and social care providers to register their PPE requirements more easily. The site will be rolled out so that these providers can request critical PPE from a central inventory. Further details will be released on how to register directly to providers as part of a phased approach.

Any organisation running critically short of PPE, and having exhausted other supply routes, can phone the National Supply Distribution Response (NSDR) on 0800 915 9964 for an urgent delivery.

Coronavirus: Alert issued to hospitals as intensive care drugs run low

The Independent, Shaun Lintern, 17 April 2020

The Independent reports that doctors have been warned that crucial drugs used to help sedate and ventilate patients in intensive care are running out due to the demand caused by coronavirus, according to an alert to hospitals from NHS England today.

It’s said supplies of atracurium and cisatracurium were likely to be exhausted in coming days, and hospitals would need to switch to alternatives that were still available. As a result of the shortages, and to help maintain supplies, NHS England said it would now manage existing supplies “centrally”.

In recent weeks, doctors have warned of shortages of other key drugs such as propofol, a commonly used anaesthetic, and alfentanil, an opioid painkiller which is used in intensive care.

 

 

Parliamentary Coverage

There was no parliamentary coverage today.

 

Full Coverage

Accessing supplies of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

NHS England

There is unprecedented, global demand for personal protective equipment as a result of this pandemic. The UK has released its pandemic influenza stockpiles, which included many types of PPE required for tackling COVID-19, and new logistics networks – including support from the army – have been established to manage supply and demand across the UK, and to make sure appropriate PPE reaches those who need it.

Information for NHS Trusts and Foundation Trusts

For acute, mental health, community, integrated care and ambulance trusts there is now a PPE dedicated supply channel delivering all core PPE products used for managing and treating patients with COVID-19 such as eye protection, aprons, gloves, gowns, hand sanitiser and masks.

This supply channel can also help Trusts and regional teams access information about how much PPE equipment has been delivered to each hospital, to help facilitate local mutual aid.

Information for primary care, hospices, social care and home care providers

There are a range of options available to primary care, hospices and home care providers to get of PPE equipment.

  • Additional supplies of PPE equipment continue to be made available to wholesalers that routinely supply to GPs, dentists, pharmacies, social care and hospices
  • Regional NHS leadership teams are working with individual trusts to support mutual aid and redistribution of supplies to meet greatest clinical need

Local Resilience Forums (LRFs) have received a push of PPE supplies to respond to local spikes in need, including those in social care and primary care, where there are current blockages in the supply chain. The PPE stock provided to LRFs is to support urgent need in vital services which are not linked to the NHS Supply Chain. This PPE is intended to support service providers which have exhausted their usual routes for PPE and there remains an urgent need for additional stock.

A new online ordering site is being developed and will enable primary care, community care and social care providers to register their PPE requirements more easily. The site will be rolled out so that these providers can request critical PPE from a central inventory. Further details will be released on how to register directly to providers as part of a phased approach. Orders will be managed in line with the published guidance from Public Health England and shipped directly via Royal Mail.

Accessing urgent supplies

Any organisation running critically short of PPE, and has exhausted other supply routes, can phone the National Supply Distribution Response (NSDR) on 0800 915 9964 for an urgent delivery.

Other information and resources

Pallet deliveries are being pushed out on a daily basis by Clipper Logistics. For more information about this service, daily manifests of what is being delivered, and how a customer service team can support enquiries visit the PPE Dedicated Supply Channel.

Coronavirus: Alert issued to hospitals as intensive care drugs run low

The Independent, Shaun Lintern, 17 April 2020

Doctors have been warned that crucial drugs used to help sedate and ventilate patients in intensive care are running out due to the demand caused by coronavirus.

An alert to hospitals from NHS England today said there were “limited supplies” of muscle relaxant drugs atracurium, cisatracurium and rocuronium, which are used during intubation when patients are sedated and paralysed with a ventilator used to help them breathe.

As a result of the shortages, and to help maintain supplies, NHS England said it would now manage existing supplies “centrally”.

It’s said supplies of atracurium and cisatracurium were likely to be exhausted in coming days, and hospitals would need to switch to alternatives that were still available.

In recent weeks, doctors have warned of shortages of other key drugs such as propofol, a commonly used anaesthetic, and alfentanil, an opioid painkiller which is used in intensive care.

A critical care nurse working in ICU in the south of England told The Independent they were already using alternatives but that this had to be used at different concentrations and run for longer to achieve the same sedation.

She said changes like this with staff overstretched could increase the likelihood of drug errors.

Drug shortages in the NHS and in intensive care are not unusual, and the Royal College of Anaesthetists said doctors were used to having to switch to different drugs.

The extra demand from coronavirus, which has seen thousands of extra patients admitted with Covid-19-related pneumonia and needing to be ventilated, has caused some drugs to run short.

NHS England said remaining stocks of atracurium and rocuronium would be allocated to hospitals based on modelling data and the number of patients in intensive care.

It added: “Stocks of cisatracurium in the supply chain are critically low and restock is not expected in the near future. Remaining stock is not at sufficient quantities to be centrally managed by allocations.”

It also said NHS England and the Department of Health and Social Care were working with suppliers and specialist importers to secure further supplies for the UK.

“We are also working with suppliers of other neuromuscular blocking agents to assess their supply position.”

The Royal College of Anaesthetists said intensive care staff were used to using alternative medicines adding: “It is important that NHS patients and the general public understand that drug demand-supply mismatch in anaesthesia and intensive care medicine are not unknown to us, even under normal circumstances.

“While we may not always be able to use our first choice drug, we expect to be able to use an appropriate alternative drug, therefore ensuring that all patients will receive effective medications.”

Media And Political Bulletin – 17 April 2020

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