Access to PPE supplies for the social care sector in Scotland has been a major concern for Scottish Care members since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. As the crisis grew, social care PPE supplies that would typically cover a care home or care at home providers needs began to diminish. Trying to get ahead of the curve, our members reached out to suppliers who in many instances were prioritising NHS orders and were unable to supply the social care sector. This meant it was very difficult for care providers to source the significant increase in PPE required to keep residents and staff safe. Social care providers resorted to sourcing their PPE through emergency supplies from NSS and other suppliers. What’s more, our members have been reporting astronomical and unreasonable cost increases for sometimes lower quality PPE items, impacting the financial sustainability of these organisations since these costs are not being reimbursed. This has made it even more difficult for providers to source PPE through their usual routes for their ongoing and ever-expanding needs.
In the midst of this PPE shortage, a large number of independent, smaller organisations, individuals and local communities have reached out to us to offer supplies to Scottish Care members for free or at low cost. Some of the companies have even adapted their normal functions to create products such as hand sanitisers and protective face visors and masks to help frontline workers during this crisis. The team at Scottish Care have been working hard to build partnerships with these people and organisations to ensure that our members are able to access PPE outwith traditional routes. Thus far, we have been in touch with over 100 different organisations, with the details of nearly 30 companies listed on a member facing webpage. It is our hope that this webpage will develop further with more contacts to support even more of our members to access PPE.
Scottish Care appreciate that these individuals and organisations are keeping the social care sector in mind during these unprecedented times. We are extremely thankful for all the time and effort they have put into sourcing or producing PPE. These offers have also been well received by our members, with some suppliers citing that website traffic, orders and enquiries have increased substantially since featuring on our webpage.
Karen Williamson, Director of New Horizons Inc. said:
“We contacted Scottish Care last week with our offer to supply urgently needed face masks to care homes. They informed us that the issue of meeting high minimum order quantities with large suppliers was a major stumbling block for the smaller care homes and asked us if there was anything we could do.
We immediately established a system whereby the smaller care homes could place their orders with us, and we could group them together into one larger order and simply split shipment.
Within 1 hour of our initial call, our contact and product details were live on the member portal and we were taking orders that same day. We are delighted to say that care homes including Rivendell in Birnam and Newlands in Dunfermline received their face masks within 2 days of placing their order.”
Mandi Cooper, Managing Director of National Property Auctions said:
“We are a construction business who are currently helping to support with the PPE demand and the battle against COVID19.
With family working on the front line and family sadly being taken from us from this horrible illness we wanted to help as many people as we could. I saw Dr Donald Macaskill on the news and decided to get in touch. They have been amazing; we were advertised on the website and within hours we have placed orders and helped many care homes with PPE, and we will continue to do so. PPE is very important, and we have contacted the British Embassy in China to check all of the paperwork and certificated to ensure all products we are taking to the frontline are safe, secure and stand the test. This is a huge learning curve for me, and the team and we will keep working hard and learning to help as much as we can. We want to help and support in any way we can, and we are proud to helping supply PPE to frontline workers.”
Lynda Rogers, Manager of Caley Home Care said:
“Due to the shortage of hand sanitiser and with the support and advice from Lynn at Scottish Care, we made contact with a local distillery who were producing hand sanitiser instead of gin.
The Port of Leith distillery, very kindly supplied us with 10 (Gin) bottles of hand sanitiser for free.
Their kindness merited a purchase of some Gin as a thank you gesture. They remain unopened at this time, but I do look at them often fondly
I’m saving it for normality returning!“
Pictured: Val Allen (Independent Sector Lead for North & East Ayrshire – Scottish Care) delivering protective face shields to Heather Lundie (Manager – Crossgate Care Home).