Robert Jenrick told the Select Housing, Communities and Local Authorities Monday that the PPE logistics system could take three weeks to launch.
Clipper Logistics was hired by the government in late March and nursing home operators are increasingly explicit in their warnings that the lack of masks, aprons, gloves, gowns and screens Facials is causing the spread of the virus in their facilities and puts workers’ lives at risk. According to official figures, around 340 people die every day in nursing homes.
The largest provider of private care homes, HC-One, said on Monday that 703 of its residents had died across the UK while last week Sam Monaghan, managing director of MHA, the largest provider of charity, warned: “Our residents and staff have not received the enhanced level of protection they need. The government will be held accountable for this. “
Ian O’Neal, the son of nursing home nurse Suzanne Loverseed, 63, who died after contracting Covid-19, said this weekend that his mother was killed by lack of PPE.
Jenrick told the committee that he wanted the Clipper system to go online “as soon as possible,” but said it was still being tested.
“We don’t want to start the system prematurely until we know that it works and that it can provide a very secure supply of PPE to nursing homes on demand,” he said. “It will happen in the next two to three weeks. “
Vic Rayner, executive director of the National Care Forum, which represents charitable care organizations, said the continuing delay was “extremely problematic”.
“It was supposed to be ready in early April,” she said. “Eight weeks later [crisis] and the fact that organizations still think they don’t have enough PPE to last until the end of the week is not helpful at all. PPE aims to protect staff and stop the spread of the virus. You also can’t do that if you don’t have the right PPE in place. “
The Clipper system should also provide protective equipment to medical offices and pharmacists.
The government has said that securing the supply of PPE could meet future demand is one of five tests that must be met before the lock can be released.