The second order of personal protective equipment (PPE) from China has been doubled to €130m and will start arriving this week.
The HSE has confirmed the second order of PPE from China has doubled from an original €67m to €130m in a bid to “accelerate supply”.
HSE chief executive, Paul Reid, confirmed at a press briefing on Sunday that 33m items of PPE have been distributed across hospital and social care settings following the arrival of €31m worth of stock from China in the first order.
There were initial issues with the quality and size of some items received in the first order, some of which could not be used by frontline staff.
However, Mr Reid said that any product issues have since been addressed as part of the revised second order, which has been scaled up to €130 million and will start arriving in the coming weeks.
Among the items of equipment ordered are 11m gowns and overalls, 7.5m gloves, 6m respirator masks, 10m surgical masks, and 2.5m face shields.
“The supply of PPE will always remain a major challenge for us because the demands are very significant,”Mr Reid said, adding that the HSE is looking at other potential sources of materials outside of China.
The HSE chief acknowledged that Covid-19 outbreaks are impacting around 40% of nursing homes and emphasised that residential care facilities are being prioritised for PPE supplies.
Last Friday alone, he said, 750,000 pieces of PPE were delivered to almost 400 nursing homes across the country.
Previous to that, in recent weeks, 1m pieces of PPE were delivered to 550 public and private nursing homes.
The HSE also confirmed that it has secured more than 2,000 ventilators from some 21 suppliers.
Meanwhile, Tadgh Daly, chief executive of Nursing Homes Ireland, said he is “encouraged” by the level of engagement with Health Minister Simon Harris following a meeting on Tuesday.
“It’s a work in progress and we are meeting twice a week to address any issues as they arise so we are encouraged by the level of engagement with the sector,” he said.
Mr Daly said Covid-19 testing is happening but contingency plans are needed to ensure the staffing of nursing homes.
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