Major milestone hit as 2 billion items of PPE delivered

Two billion items of personal protective equipment (PPE) have now been delivered to the frontline since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak

Health care worker wearing PPE

• Almost 28 billion items have been ordered by the government to provide a continuous supply to health and care workers tackling coronavirus
• Part of herculean cross-government effort to future-proof supply chains

Two billion items of PPE have been delivered to NHS and social care staff across the UK since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, the government has announced today.

Amid unprecedented global pressures on supply chains, 341 million masks, 313 million aprons, 4 million gowns and 1.1 billion gloves have been delivered to frontline workers thanks to the efforts of government, NHS, industry and the armed forces to massively scale-up distribution networks.

Almost 28 billion items of PPE have been ordered overall from UK-based manufacturers and international partners to provide a continuous supply in the coming months.

This will help protect our hardworking NHS and care staff, allowing them to continue to save lives and provide high-quality care to those who need it.

This was a vital condition in order to safely ease the lockdown and start to bring some normality back to people’s lives.

Matt Hancock, Health and Social Care Secretary, said:

"Coronavirus has placed unprecedented global demands on PPE supply chains. To tackle this we set a national challenge calling on companies to channel their manufacturing power into manufacturing much-needed PPE, and brought in Lord Deighton who has truly delivered once more for his country.

"Two billion items of PPE have now been delivered to the frontline, and a further 28 billion items sourced, that will protect frontline workers well into the future.

"It is thanks to the herculean effort from UK industry, the NHS and departmental teams, our diplomatic teams abroad, and the armed forces that we have now hit this impressive milestone."

The normal supply chain for PPE was designed to accommodate delivery to 226 NHS trusts, but essential PPE supplies are now being supplied to 58,000 different settings, including care homes, hospices and community care organisations.

This has been achieved through a cross-government effort to harness the manufacturing power of UK suppliers, forging new relationships with overseas companies and setting up new supply chains from scratch in a matter of weeks.

Lord Deighton, the government’s adviser on PPE who previously led the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics, was also appointed to oversee supply and ramp up manufacturing of PPE from UK-based companies.

More than 30 deals have been struck with companies, including the Royal Mint, Jaguar Land Rover and Honeywell, through the Make initiative to manufacture and deliver PPE in the UK. We are also working with over 175 new suppliers to deliver at the scale and pace the UK requires. Around 20% of all PPE will be manufactured in the UK by the end of the year.

The latest companies to join the national drive and sign new contracts are:

• Medicom, a company based in Montreal, will be providing hundreds of millions of respiratory and medical masks to the UK every year, once the UK facility is opened later this summer. This new UK-based factory will create at least 75 new full-time, skilled jobs

• Redwood TTM, based in Skelmersdale near Wigan, will be providing 379,000 gowns until November this year – around 75,800 a month – with the first delivery due this week

Lord Paul Deighton, adviser to the Health and Social Care Secretary on PPE, said:

"The driving motivation of our team has been to supply our frontline workers with the PPE they need so they can focus on saving lives. This is why hitting this milestone matters and why I am so grateful to all the individuals and companies, both in the UK and overseas, who have contributed to this effort.

"Responding to a massive spike in our requirements and a significant global supply shortage, we have in a matter of weeks scaled up our international procurement, our domestic manufacturing and our logistics and distribution capabilities so that we can deliver PPE to where it’s needed.

"We are now working to build the stock levels which will help to future-proof our health and care sectors for years to come."

Contracts for billions of items of PPE were negotiated by a team led by Defence Equipment and Support, the procurement arm of the Ministry of Defence.

Sir Simon Bollom, Defence Equipment and Support CEO, said:

"The New Buy PPE team has worked tirelessly and collaboratively with colleagues from the NHS and across government from the outset and this remarkable milestone indicates how focused they are on getting vital PPE to the NHS frontline."

Ranil Jayawardena, International Trade Minister, said:

"The announcement today is testament to the hard work of British teams around the globe, sourcing critical medical equipment in the fight against coronavirus.

"We’ve got to keep going and do even more. I welcome Lord Deighton’s important work on PPE here at home and abroad ‒ and the Department for International Trade will continue our work to make our supply chains more robust, seize new overseas opportunities, and push on with trade deals amongst friends and allies to boost the British economy.

"The government will always be ready to fire up our overseas networks, secure medical and other critical supplies, and help make Britain more resilient in the future, as we strive to beat this virus."

Background information

From the beginning of the outbreak, the government has worked tirelessly to find new ways of getting more PPE to staff across the health and care system as quickly as possible.

We have rapidly processed over 23,000 cases from over 15,000 suppliers to ensure they meet the safety and quality standards that our NHS staff need, as well as prioritising offers of larger volumes. We have so far actively engaged with over 99% of the companies that have offered PPE.

We now have sufficient contracted supplies for our foreseeable demand in most product areas.

We’ve contracted with over 175 new suppliers able to deliver at the scale and pace the UK requires.

In March, the National Supply Distribution Response 24/7 helpline was launched to allow health and care providers to arrange urgent deliveries of PPE. This was followed by £1.6 billion of funding for local authorities to deal with the immediate impacts of coronavirus, which they could use to help ensure social care staff could get the protection they needed. Social care providers later received an emergency drop of over 7 million items of PPE from the government.

In April, the government launched the PPE action plan, setting out clear, decisive actions on securing enough PPE to last through the crisis and ensuring those who need PPE can get the right type at the right time.

The temporary team rapidly mobilised by Lord Deighton to source UK manufactured PPE included many senior executives from the private sector, many of whom were involved in the delivery of London 2012.