HSE waiting for department sanction to resume PPE purchases

PPE sourcing ‘remains stable’ with ‘relatively secure supply lines’, report says

HSE document said sanction ‘is critical to ensure continued availability of PPE stock to meet current needs and have the necessary buffer stocks in place to the end of 2020’.  Photograph: iStock

HSE document said sanction ‘is critical to ensure continued availability of PPE stock to meet current needs and have the necessary buffer stocks in place to the end of 2020’. Photograph: iStock

 

A document published on the website of the Health Service Executive (HSE) warned that it was awaiting a “crucial” sanction from the Department of Health in order to resume “full-scale” purchases of personal protective equipment (PPE).

The document, a full situational report on Ireland’s response to the Covid crisis, said PPE sourcing “remains stable” with “relatively secure supply lines”.

However, it said “sanction is awaited from the Department of Health to resume full-scale sourcing/purchasing activities.

This is critical to ensure continued availability of PPE stock to meet current needs and have the necessary buffer stocks in place to the end of 2020,” the document reads.

The document shows that, based on forecast levels and expected supply, stocks of some PPE may run down to several days’ supply by the end of November.

However, this was based on “worst case scenario” rather than actual demand, which was likely to be lower, the HSE said, with shortages not envisaged.

A spokeswoman said the engagement with the department was part of its governance arrangements, and that sanctioning of purchases was undertaken on an “iterative basis”.

“We are working very closely with our colleagues in [the Department of Health] to finalise the remainder of our inventory needs for 2020.”

The Department of Health said it was working with the HSE to finalise orders for the rest of 2020, and that €650 million was approved for PPE purchases in the budget.

“The department remains satisfied that the requirements for PPE are adequately resourced in 2020 and going forward for 2021.” The document was removed from the HSE website on Wednesday afternoon.

The Department of Health confirmed another 675 cases of the virus in Ireland, as numbers diagnosed continued to trend downwards. A further six deaths were reported, bringing the total to 1,896 in the Republic, and 59,434 cases.