The letter calls on the government to urgently provide clear timescales of when we can expect delivery of adequate PPE.
This will ensure our staff are fully protected when carrying out their vital roles of supporting some of the most vulnerable children, young people and adults in the town.
See the letter in full below.
Dear Secretary of State,
I am very proud of our amazing frontline staff who are truly committed and working tirelessly to care for some of the most vulnerable children, young people and adults in the town during the Coronavirus crisis.
Yet every day, they could be potentially putting themselves at risk as well as their families and those they care for due to the lack of personal protection equipment (PPE). These hardworking people are required to support people face to face to do their jobs and they must be given protection.
Last week it was announced that millions of PPE items were delivered to NHS staff yet Luton Council, like many other local authorities, are still waiting to hear when additional equipment will be delivered. To date, we have only received minimal supplies which do not adequately address the needs of our staff and providers of frontline services.
Our social workers, care staff and other employees as well as service providers have understandable concerns about fulfilling their duties whilst not being fully protected.
In response to their concerns and to meet our duty of care to staff, our officers over the past three weeks have been sourcing and ordering stocks of face masks, aprons, gloves and other personal protective equipment on a daily basis but with limited success due to the lack of readily available supplies.
Despite their best efforts we are unable, for example, to receive a bulk delivery of over 50,000 face masks until mid-April. As per the NHS specification, these need to be worn when supporting people with suspected Covid-19 symptoms or live cases.
We are calling on the government to urgently provide us with clear timescales of when we can expect delivery of adequate PPE to meet these needs, and further guidance on how we can continue to protect staff so that they can confidently, without fear, carry out their vital roles of protecting the town’s vulnerable people.
Hazel Simmons MBE
Leader of the Council