Deliveries of PPE to Midlands hospitals stepped up but quality of supplies is questioned

The supply of PPE is improving across the West Midlands – but bosses have warned there are still issues around the quality of some stock.

Two weeks ago stocks of protective gear including masks and gowns were running low across the region, with ministers conceding that supply issues had left hospital staff critically short.

Deborah Cadman, chief executive of the West Midlands Combined Authority and part of the strategic coordination group, said the situation had improved since then, although the quality of the PPE being supplied was variable.

"There's an improved picture now on the delivery and supply of PPE, and that supply is getting to where it needs to," she said.

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"However, there are still some issues around the quality, which is still variable."

Mrs Cadman also said they were looking at guidance over how much protective equipment would be required by the general public once lockdown restrictions were eased.

"That will also have an implication on demand for PPE going forward," she said.

The region's problems with securing PPE had been raised by West Midlands Mayor Andy Street, who said the shortfall up to mid-April had left health bosses struggling to plan care.

Toby Lewis, chief executive of the Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust, said local businesses had stepped in to help address long running supply issues.

More than 500 businesses came forward to assist with PPE supplies in the West Midlands.

Many hospitals, including New Cross in Wolverhampton, turned to local businesses for help.

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