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PPE for optical practices available now from new online shop

4 May 2020


Access to Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) that meets the necessary clinical protection standards is critical to optical practices’ ability to offer the new Covid-19 Urgent Eyecare Service (CUES), as well as essential services, during the Covid-19 pandemic. Clear guidance has been issued by Public Health England and the College of Optometrists stating that PPE must be used during face to face consultations to protect practice staff and patients. However, sourcing and securing PPE is a significant difficulty at present, and a major obstacle for individual practices.

To ensure that all practices can quickly access affordable PPE when they need it, LOCSU together with Primary Eyecare Services (PES) have undertaken a joint initiative to make PPE available for purchase by optical practices via a new online shop, The shop will operate on a non-profit basis, offering the PHE recommended range of PPE including masks, aprons, face visors and gloves. All items have been sourced at the lowest available price and a free delivery option is available.

Under the joint initiative, LOCSU and PES have participated in discussions to identify sources of quality PPE at national and local levels. PES as a lead provider of clinical services will purchase the equipment, facilitate practice orders and manage distribution for the benefit of all practices who wish to purchase. All practices in England will be able to access PPE via the online shop (subject to availability), regardless of primary eyecare company affiliation. This service is intended to benefit the whole of the sector based on need.

Mike Fegan, Chair of LOCSU and PES, comments:

“I am really pleased that LOCSU and PES are able to work together to help provide access to PPE to practices across England. Access to PPE has been a huge problem and I hope that this initiative goes some way to ensuring that all practices can assess the PPE that they need.

Throughout the planning for this initiative, our overriding concern has been to locate a sustainable source of PPE that will ensure that practices can continue to provide outstanding patient care during the current challenging conditions.

Primary Eyecare Services’ position as the biggest provider of locally commissioned primary eye care services, working in 75% of all LOC areas in England, made it the obvious partner for LOCSU. PES is using its scale and infrastructure to purchase and manage the distribution of the required PPE for the benefit of the sector and we hope the sector will acknowledge the resources and effort that have gone into making this happen”

Stock availability will be closely monitored and order quantities will be limited to ensure that the maximum possible number of practices can benefit from purchasing PPE from a trusted central source.

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