Ensuring the quality and quantity of personal protective equipment (PPE) by enhancing the procurement process in Northern Ireland during the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic: Challenges in the procurement process for PPE in NI

Kathryn Burnett, Suzanne Martin, Catherine Goudy, John Barron, Linda O'Hare, Peter Wilson, Glenda Fleming, Michael Scott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
26 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

This article outlines the purchasing process for personal protective equipment that was established for Health and Social Care in Northern Ireland in response to the outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019. The Business Services Organisation Procurement and Logistics Service, who are the sole provider of goods and services for Health and Social Care organisations, was faced with an unprecedented demand for personal protective equipment in response to the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic. The usual procurement process was further complicated by changing messages within guidelines which resulted in confusion and anxiety when determining whether or not a product would meet the required safety guidance and was therefore suitable for purchase. In order to address these issues in a rapidly changing and escalating scenario the Department of Health asked the Business Services Organisation Procurement and Logistics Service to work with the Medicines Optimisation Innovation Centre to maximise the availability of personal protective equipment whilst ensuring that it met all requisite quality and standards. A process was implemented whereby the Medicines Optimisation Innovation Centre validated all pertinent essential documentation relating to products to ensure that all applicable standards were met, with the Business Services Organisation Procurement and Logistics Service completing all procurement due diligence tasks in line with both normal and coronavirus disease 2019 emergency derogations. It is evident from the data presented that whilst there were a significant number of potential options for supply, a large proportion of these were rejected due to failure to meet the quality assurance criteria. Thus, by the process that was put in place, a large number of unsuitable products were not purchased and only those that met extant standards were approved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)42-49
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Patient Safety and Risk Management
Volume27
Issue number1
Early online date15 Nov 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors wish to acknowledge the dedication and efforts of all staff from the BSOPaLS teams in such challenging circumstances, without them the work outlined in this paper would not have been possible. We would also like to acknowledge the ongoing hard work of Mr Rodney Morton (Chair) and the members of the Regional Infection Prevention and Control group throughout this period and their support in the new process development. The quality assurance of PPE was supported by colleagues from DH. We are grateful to Anne Marie Blayney, Sean Curley and Michelle Keatings for their assistance and we wish to express our appreciation to Mrs Cathy Harrison Chief Pharmaceutical Officer, DH for enabling the re-deployment of the named individuals.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2021.

Keywords

  • COVID-19 pandemic
  • Personal Protective Equipment
  • Patient safety
  • Procurement
  • Quality assessment
  • supply chain management
  • organisational learning
  • risk management
  • Product liability
  • support for clinical staff

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Ensuring the quality and quantity of personal protective equipment (PPE) by enhancing the procurement process in Northern Ireland during the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic: Challenges in the procurement process for PPE in NI'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this