Ensuring the Quality and Quantity of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) by enhancing the procurement process in Northern Ireland during the and Covid-19 Pandemic: Challenges in the procurement process for PPE in NI

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This article outlines the purchasing process for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) that was established for Health and Social Care (HSC) in Northern Ireland (NI) in response to the outbreak of Covid-19.

The Business Services Organisation Procurement and Logistics Service (BSOPaLS), who are the sole provider of goods and services for HSC organisations, was faced with an unprecedented demand for PPE in response to the Covid-19 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 (DH) asked BSOPaLS to work with the Medicines Optimisation and Innovation Centre (MOIC) to maximise the availability of PPE whilst ensuring that it met all requisite quality and standards.

A process was implemented whereby MOIC validated all pertinent essential documentation relating to products to ensure that all applicable standards were met, with BSOPaLS completing all procurement due diligence tasks in line with both normal and Covid-19 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
JournalJournal of Patient Safety and Risk Management
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 13 Mar 2021

Keywords

  • COVID-19 pandemic
  • Personal Protective Equipment
  • Patient safety
  • Procurement
  • Quality assessment
  • supply chain management

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