As you will be aware stocks of fluid repellent gowns and coveralls remain pressured. This afternoon advice published on the Public Health England webpage indicates other alternatives staff can use if a Trust runs out of suitable gowns or coveralls. This includes:
- Reserve disposable, fluid repellent gown or coveralls for AGPs and surgical procedures.
- Disposable, non-fluid repellent gowns or coveralls with a disposable plastic apron for high-risk settings and AGPs with forearm washing once gown or coverall is removed.
- Reusable (washable) surgical gowns or coveralls or similar suitable clothing (for example, long-sleeved laboratory coat, long-sleeved patient gown or industrial coverall) with a disposable plastic apron for AGPs and high-risk settings with forearm washing once gown or coverall is removed. These would need to be washed in a hospital laundry and capacity for hospital laundries may need to be increased.
For many weeks the Cabinet Office, with the support of Deloitte, have been buying gowns and coveralls from existing manufacturers and working with numerous UK companies to get gowns manufactured at pace. More supplies of repellent gowns and coveralls are coming through including over the next few days but gown stocks are currently pressured which is why this advice has been produced.
The NSDR Supply Disruption Line should continue to be used where you urgently require gowns or coveralls.
Colleagues should note that where non-fluid repellent gowns or coveralls are delivered we will be supplying them with aprons as per the advice. NHS CEOs and professional bodies including royal colleges have also been briefed about this situation and we will keep you updated.