Coronavirus: Almost 170m PPE items delivered in five months

By Will Leitch
BBC News NI

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image copyrightPA Media

Almost 170m items of personal protective equipment (PPE) were delivered to Northern Ireland's health service in the first five months of the Covid-19 pandemic.

That is according to the Business Services Organisation (BSO).

It said from March to July 2020, its Procurement and Logistics Service (PaLS) delivered 167,464,244 "core" items of PPE.

This includes masks, visors and eye protectors, aprons and gowns.

PPE
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PPE delivered in Northern Ireland

  • 167,464,244Total number of "core" items of PPE delivered

  • 93,895,000Gloves

  • 31,921,000Face masks

  • 31,146,000Aprons

  • 8,603,000Face visors / eye protectors

Source: Department of Health

In addition, the BSO delivered 4,425,000 items it classed as "Covid impacted".

These are items such as hand sanitiser, antiseptic wipes, scrubs and theatre caps, which are not viewed as essential items of PPE.

The Business Services Organisation provides specialist services to the health and social care sector in Northern Ireland.

Some primary care providers also source extra PPE themselves, which is not included in these figures.

These include dentists, GPs, pharmacists and optometrists.

The busiest delivery period so far came in late March and early April when some 15 million items were delivered, around twice the weekly average.

The figures also show that some eye protectors were withdrawn after being found to be defective.

image copyrightReuters
image captionDentists have acquired extra PPE which is not reflected in the figures

The core PPE delivered from March to July 2020 included:

  • 31,146,000 aprons and 656,000 gowns
  • 1,243,000 FFP3 face masks and 31,921,000 IIR face masks
  • 8,603,000 face visors / eye protectors
  • 93,895,000 gloves

As for Covid impacted items, there were:

  • 385,000 hand sanitisers
  • 262,000 scrubs
  • 1,083,000 theatre caps
  • 2,695,000 wipes

The BSO says it intends to publish statistics such as these every month in future, but may revise how they are presented.

PPE
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PPE delivered in Northern Ireland

Other items not viewed as essential PPE

  • 2,695,000Antiseptic wipes

  • 1,083,000Theatre caps

  • 385,000Hand sanitisers

  • 262,000Scrubs

Source: Department of Health

In a statement it stressed that "these experimental statistics are based on management information sources, some of which, historically, may not be as robust as those which feed other official statistics series".

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