Birmingham care staff face running out of PPE 'in two weeks'

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NHS staff wearing a full gown and visorImage source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Birmingham City Council said it had ordered "thousands" of packs of PPE for more than 700 providers, including care homes

Birmingham's front-line care workers will run out of face masks within two weeks unless the government takes urgent action, the city council says.

Council Leader Ian Ward said supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE) were "running desperately low".

He asked for an urgent meeting in a letter to ministers.

The government said it had delivered more than 38 million items of PPE to local resilience forums (LRFs) in England since last week.

"We are also looking to introduce a smarter supply system to improve further the delivery chain for this important kit," a spokesperson added.

The latest letter addressed to Health Secretary Matt Hancock and Local Government Secretary Robert Jenrick, was also signed by Birmingham MPs Liam Byrne (Labour) and Andrew Mitchell (Conservative).

In it, Mr Ward said two other letters earlier this month calling for urgent supplies of PPE had been "ignored", meaning the situation on the front line was "critical".

Image caption,
Small design companies and even schools have been producing visors to help address a shortage of PPE

He told BBC WM the council currently had about 38,000 face masks in stock, but would run out of these within 14 days even by limiting distribution to only those in the most urgent group.

Birmingham City Council, the largest metropolitan authority in the UK, said it had sourced stock from alternative sources, including private businesses but more was needed.

The government said it had since responded to the council and had also paid tribute to the "vital work it, and all other councils, are doing to support their communities during the pandemic".

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