COVID-19 – PPE Guidance Update

Public Health England (PHE) issued guidance on 17 April 2020 regarding the reuse of Personal Protective equipment (PPE).

This guidance has not been implemented in Northern Ireland at this point in time. If or when such guidance might be required locally the Department willvconsider the situation, taking account of the national and international scientific evidence, and will provide further advice at the appropriate time. Such consideration will be undertaken if required, and only following full engagement and in consultation with professional bodies and trade union representative organisations.

On 2 April 2020 updated UK-wide guidance on the use of PPE was issued by PHE. This guidance was agreed by the Chief Medical, Dental and Nursing Officers across the UK as well the relevant Public Health bodies, the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges and the Royal College of Nursing. A further update to this guidance was published on 10 April 2020. This guidance sets out practical recommendations on the use of PPE as part of safe systems of working. It makes recommendations on where PPE can be used for single use or on a sessional basis, depending on the nature of work and the setting in which work is undertaken. It includes reference to sessional use of visors and goggles. Further guidance will be issued shortly through the Public Health Agency (PHA) regarding the re-use of suitable visors and goggles in Northern Ireland.

The Department is acutely aware of the challenges arising from issues associated with PPE, and we are working tirelessly to ensure that every conceivable effort is made to support staff, and indeed the broader community, to understand and make informed decisions about when and how PPE should be used.

The Department fully understand that staff on the frontline need reassurance. They believe the updated guidance, continuing to provide necessary support to staff
delivering care, and securing greater quantities of PPE for Northern Ireland will play a part in allaying concerns.

The Department has established a new dedicated email contact point for all staff to raise any concerns they may have in relation to PPE.

The email address is [email protected].

HSS(MD) 26/2020