London boroughs have agreed a new pan-London partnership to secure emergency supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE) for care homes and other crucial local services on the Covid-19 frontline.
The initiative is expected to result in more than 48 million PPE items becoming available for all London local authorities to distribute in the coming weeks, as care services across London continue to face intense pressures.
The collaboration between the boroughs builds on a supply chain established by the West London Alliance. Through expanding the West London Alliance’s successful shared procurement of PPE, all the 32 boroughs and the City of London Corporation will now benefit from economies of scale and ease the strain on PPE supply lines caused by surging global demand.
This work is supported by the London Strategic Co-ordination Group (SCG) as part of the capital’s emergency response to the pandemic and will complement the government’s national supply lines.
London boroughs have consistently highlighted the importance of providing PPE to social care services to protect those most at risk from coronavirus. By working closely with local care providers and co-ordinating available resources, boroughs have focused support on vulnerable Londoners and those caring for them.
The West London Alliance’s shared procurement programme has seen more than 9.6 million PPE items distributed to participating boroughs since the start of the pandemic. Over 7.5 million items of PPE have already been delivered by London Fire Brigade on behalf of the SCG, including to primary care services and other partners.
The West London Alliance’s supply chain has the additional capacity to accommodate all London boroughs during this time of critical need. The new pan-London procurement partnership will strengthen boroughs’ access to PPE and avoid over-reliance on delivery from the government’s emergency stocks while supply chains recover to meet demand.
With the pan-London expansion co-ordinated by a team led by Haringey Council, Ealing Council will act as the lead supply borough, with the priority being to get PPE to social care services.
Cllr Ray Puddifoot, London Councils’ Executive Member for Health & Care, said: “Boroughs are acting quickly and decisively to boost PPE supplies and ensure equipment gets to those who need it most. London’s social care is on the frontline of the Covid-19 crisis and boroughs are working flat out to protect vulnerable Londoners and the heroic social care staff supporting them.
“This new partnership means all boroughs will benefit from improved access to PPE, helping London care homes and other local services get the equipment they need. London’s boroughs have stepped up to the plate and are playing a leading role in the capital’s response to the pandemic.”
Cllr Julian Bell, Leader of Ealing Council and spokesperson for the West London Alliance, said: “I’m proud that the great work of the West London Alliance and Ealing’s procurement team has been recognised and that we are now buying on behalf of the whole of London vital PPE for our fantastic frontline care workers
“I want to pay tribute to everybody who is working so hard to get this vital PPE out to people. So I thank you for what you are doing. And also thank you to those fantastic frontline care workers and NHS workers, and also to everyone else for staying at home, because by doing so you’re protecting the NHS and you’re saving lives.”
Eleanor Kelly, Deputy Chair of London’s Strategic Coordination Group, said: “By working together to deliver vital PPE equipment we are protecting carers, vulnerable people, and saving lives.
“London’s local authorities are playing a leading role in the fightback against Covid-19. This crucial programme shows the capital’s effectiveness as we combine to look after the most at-risk in our communities.”