By Democrat reporter

Providing key workers with access to Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to tackle the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic through winter and beyond is the focus of a new action plan published by the Scottish Government.

The Plan covers health, social care and other essential public services where people need to wear masks, gloves, eye protection and/or gowns to combat the virus. It will support the NHS in preparing to deal with normal winter illnesses and weather, and the potential impact of exiting the EU.

It also sets out plans for a sustainable supply chain, including working with Scottish manufacturers.

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman, pictured right, said:  “From the outset of the pandemic, we have worked to ensure that Scotland has adequate stock of PPE for the level of demand at all times. In the face of substantial challenges we have worked hard with NHS procurement, stakeholders across all sectors, and manufacturers to develop and expand Scotland’s supply.  As a result we have made significant improvements.

“This plan now sets out what we need to do to meet our expected need for PPE in the next few months and beyond, addressing the next set of challenges we face. We have supply lines in place to cover expected demand over the winter and are putting in place actions that will ensure long term sustainable supply.

“For all those in frontline roles I would like to express my gratitude for the work they have done to protect and save people’s lives during this pandemic. We will continue to support frontline workers in every way we can, to keep them safe.

“My sincerest hope is that the measures we are taking – joined hopefully in due course by a vaccine – will mean we won’t have such significant requirements for PPE in the longer term. However, for as long as we need it this plan will be updated and refreshed where necessary.”

The PPE Action Plan can be viewed in full here.  There is separate advice on face coverings which addresses their use.

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