Notts council confident PPE stockpile enough for winter Covid peak
Nottinghamshire Council’s current stock of personal protective equipment gives the “assurance” it can manage a potential Covid peak this winter, an official has said.
And the coming winter months will be used to assess the council’s planning, ahead of the Government ending its provision of free PPE in March next year.
Council papers say the authority has “good levels of stock” of items such as masks and visors, which remain mandatory within the health and social care setting.
When the coronavirus pandemic first struck, however, council teams were stockpiling PPE items at County Hall and spent almost £2.7 million acquiring equipment within the first two months.
The council has since created a PPE warehouse full of its own stock and Department of Health and Social Care items, in preparation for future outbreaks.
However, this comes ahead of Government plans to halt its programme of free PPE for councils in March.
But Kaj Ghattaora, council group manager for procurement, told the authority’s finance committee the council is preparing for this change.
She said: “Last year we were in a responsive mode, but now we’ve a strong team, a warehouse and a good stock-management system.
“We’ve good levels of stock and that provides us with assurance we can manage any peak we may face.
“In terms of future provision, we’re going to take stock of what winter looks like and what impact that has on PPE.
“We’ll be looking to bring a further report in the new year, with outlines we do beyond March.”
The council documents say spending on PPE reduced to as low as £85.75 in May, down from more than £2.4m in April 2020.
‘Covid is not going to go away’
But the meeting heard concerns from some councillors.
Coun Lee Waters said: “I have concerns about the financial impact on this authority when we no longer receive financial support after March 31.
“Covid is not going to go away.
“If Covid remains a significant issue after March 31, do we expect the DHSC to extend its financial support accordingly?”
Coun Richard Jackson, committee chairman, said the authority has ample reserve cash to acquire PPE if or when the DHSC support ends.
He said: “We have plans and stocks of PPE as and when it’s required, but we obviously don’t know what the requirement is going to be at this stage.”