Coronavirus: 'Less than half' of Birmingham Council's PPE order delivered

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PPEImage source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Birmingham City Council said it ordered "thousands" of packs of personal protective equipment

Social care workers "have been left wide open" to coronavirus after orders of personal protective equipment (PPE) failed to arrive, a council has said.

Birmingham City Councillor Paulette Hamilton told the Local Democracy Reporting Service 40% of the authority's PPE order was delivered.

"We have had to scurry around the region looking for businesses who will get us up to what we needed," she said.

The Local Resilience Forum's (LRF) distribution was "based on local need".

The council ordered "thousands" of packs for more than 700 care providers.

Ms Hamilton criticised the government for not prioritising social care workers who she said had been "left wide open" to the risks of Covid-19.

"I feel the government focused the PPE into the health service," she said.

Image source, Birmingham City Council
Image caption,
Paulette Hamilton is the cabinet member for health and social care

The government has promised all care home residents and staff with Covid-19 symptoms would be tested for coronavirus after charities said the virus is "running wild" amid outbreaks at more than 2,000 homes.

The Department for Health and Social Care said multi-agency bodies called the LRF had been set up to support care workers in need of PPE.

However these groups have been advised to prioritise distribution to workers with "unavoidable contact" with confirmed, or suspected, coronavirus patients.

Birmingham's Trades Union Council said protection for workers in the city was "totally inadequate".

"Both the carer and the cared-for are potential risks to each other," the group said in a statement.

The LRF, which does not hold any PPE stock, said: "Within 12 hours of receiving a delivery via the Department for Health and Social Care / Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, the LRF arranges onward distribution to local authorities and Primary Care for allocation based on local need."

The local authority said there needs to be a "sustainable plan" to ensure care workers are properly protected and is continuing to ask local businesses for donations.

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