PPE Gear for Community Healthcare Services

We are a group of GPs, healthcare professionals and volunteers wanting to launch an independent centralised (charitable) service, known as OxSupported, that will be able to help provide some of the much-needed personal protective equipment (PPE) to the frontline community workers particularly in Oxfordshire. The aim is to bridge the current gap caused by the difficulties in sourcing the right gear and the lead times from the various procurement processes utilised by community healthcare services. But to do this, we first need your help.

Whilst lockdown is beginning to ease and some (new) levels of normality are slowly being reached, we are all aware that Covid-19 is here to stay for some time until a treatment or a vaccine is developed. There will invariably be further outbreaks from time to time over the coming months, and having the right level and amount of PPE gear will be paramount for frontline care workers to be able to continue fighting this battle effectively. The reality is that PPE procurement processes have in fact improved somewhat in Oxfordshire but given the national shortages against the backdrop of continual need for PPE gear worldwide, problems of supply and demand will likely remain in the short to medium term. Making sure those services most in need are quickly identified and supported will be crucial in containing the risk of further spread and help protect frontline workers and most importantly, our loved ones.

As a service, we would like to help provide PPE gear and other equipment to:

General Practices
District Nursing Team
Palliative Nursing Team
Nursing Homes
Care Homes
Care Agencies
Other community services in need

We would also ultimately like to set up an online platform that will enable community services to make requests in real-time and suppliers (which may take the form as e.g. individuals/companies/organisations) to be able to offer help directly or indirectly. 

The Story Behind This Initiative: 

Following the difficulties with sourcing PPE gear particularly in early March, several people reached out to my own GP practice in Oxford offering help. Through key individuals and local fundraising efforts (Phase 1), we were very fortunate to be able to buy the necessary gear in sufficient numbers, quickly and effectively (mostly at cost price and sometimes even obtained for free) allowing the practice to function well in very uncertain times. This in turn also provided a level of relief and reassurance to staff members. As a practice, we are eternally grateful to those who helped.  


Following on from the above article, people continued to offer help in various forms - generous offers of sourcing gear at cost, financial donations, volunteers to make scrubs, services donating face shields, etc.


Turning down these offers of help from the onset (at this stage, we were well stocked as a practice) and merely signposting them to other organisations, however, didn't quite feel the right thing to do. Could we not implement a similar process of using the gathered information and help other community services having already seen it work successfully in my own practice? This seemed the next right course of action and with a group of colleagues, friends and volunteers, OxSupported was formed. 

Where would your money go?

This initiative endorsed by the Local Medical Committee (LMC) does not in any way intend to replace existing procurement pathways. To ensure that money is being well spent and directed to those in real need, we will be making it clear that community healthcare services who use OxSupported must try to obtain PPE gear through normal established routes in the first instance to obtain the correct certified gear.

Whilst the primary focus will be on sourcing PPE gear, funds would also be going towards other aspects of Covid-19 care and infection control in the community depending on the needs of the community services:

(1) PPE-related gear: face shields & visors, surgical & FFP respirator masks, gowns & apron, gloves, scrubs
(2) disinfectant & decontamination: alcohol/wipes, cleaning/decontamination services
(3) equipment: oxygen saturation probes, perspex screens for reception, etc.
(4) administrative costs related to maintaining a website/IT platform
(5) research into e.g. re-use of equipment, methods of effective cleaning, general infection control

As part of Phase 2 of the initiative, a portion of the funds will be used to source (1) for a small number of care homes as a pilot study. The hope is that if this is successful and the level of demands for PPE-related gear and equipment continue to remain high within and amongst the community healthcare services, we would then roll it out across Oxfordshire as Phase 3.

If there are any surplus funds?

Whilst there may even be the need for a second or third round of crowd-funding and fundraising activities depending on the levels of outbreaks, their respective impact on the community and the procurement processes in place at the time, any surplus funds would go to services that help those affected by Covid-19 (e.g. mental health, bereavement, etc.), food banks or Covid-19 related research.


We are currently working closing with:
Covid Print Oxford    https://www.covidprintoxford.com/
OxWash                           https://www.oxwash.com/

and other voluntary services.

Thank you for your support!

The OxSupported Team
(Dr Paul Ch'en,  GP)

Donations (19)

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Paul Chen
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Wai Lok Ip
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