Eluned Morgan MS, Minister for Health and Social Services
The provision of free Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) to the health and social care sector in Wales to protect frontline workers against respiratory infection, including Covid-19, has been a critical part of our pandemic response and a Programme for Government commitment.
In December, I announced we would continue to provide free PPE to the health and social care sector in Wales until the end of June 2023, pending the outcome of a review of the position. That review has now concluded.
Today, I am pleased to confirm we will continue with the existing arrangements until 31 March 2024. The operational arrangements set up during the pandemic through which NHS Wales Shared Services Partnership (NWSSP) procures PPE for onward distribution to the sector, will also be extended until 31 March 2024.
It is critical that health and social care services continue to adhere to the latest infection prevention and control guidance. This continued support will help the NHS and social care ahead of winter and during the current difficult financial climate.
Extending the current approach until March 2024 will also help to manage the existing PPE stock levels, pending the outcome of a UK-wide review of pandemic countermeasures, as well as providing time for primary and social care providers to re-establish PPE supply chains after three years of being supplied by NWSSP.
From 1 April 2024, these arrangements will end, and the procurement and supply of PPE will return to pre-pandemic arrangements. This means health boards and NHS trusts will return to buying their own PPE from NWSSP and primary care and social care providers will buy their PPE from either the private sector or NWSSP.