The fight against coronavirus (COVID-19)

An issue of vital importance in the fight against coronavirus (COVID-19) is making sure our health and social care workers have the personal protective equipment (PPE) they need.

The Armed Forces have helped establish the national supply distribution response to deliver equipment to people who need it the most. In the past two weeks, it has delivered 397 million pieces of PPE equipment to NHS trusts, GPs, pharmacies and community providers.

On just a single day last week, the NHS Supply Chain delivered over 45.5 million units of PPE to 280 trusts and providers, including more than 5 million aprons, a million FFP3 face masks, 6 million surgical masks and 21 million gloves.

A new, dedicated, NHS-run PPE supply hotline has been set up, enabling health and social care staff to order more equipment 24 hours a day.

Other action to defeat this invisible enemy has included the Health & Social Care Secretary outlining a new five-part strategy to ramp up COVID-19 testing for NHS staff and key workers.

This consists of NHS swab testing to find out if you currently have the virus, commercial swab testing which will initially be used only for NHS staff and their families, antibody testing to see if somebody has had the disease previously, surveillance testing to learn more about the spread of the disease, and a national effort to transform Britain’s diagnostics industry.

I am grateful for the work of Crawley-based companies in ensuring scaled-up production of ventilators for the NHS to treat COVID-19 patients.

The call for even more NHS staff to help the fight against this disease has seen 20,000 retired NHS professionals sign up to rejoin the NHS, with 5,500 final year medics and 18,700 final year student nurses moving to the front line.

The transformation of ExCeL London to the NHS Nightingale Hospital, and people locally who have signed up to volunteer to help the NHS and Sussex Police, are just some of the examples of how our nation is pulling together to defeat this virus.

Henry Smith MP