Early years settings receiving contradictory Government guidance on PPE

Annette Rawstrone
Friday, May 22, 2020

Childcare providers are receiving contradictory guidance over the supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) if they are unable to obtain it from their local supply chains.

The Department for Education advices that earl years staff should wear PPE if a child begins to show signs of coronavirus, while in their care
The Department for Education advices that earl years staff should wear PPE if a child begins to show signs of coronavirus, while in their care

Guidance on Implementing protective measures in education and childcare settings issued by the Department for Education (DfE) on 12 May, states that education, childcare and children’s social care settings and providers should use their local supply chains to obtain PPE, but that, ‘Where this is not possible, and there is unmet urgent need for PPE in order to operate safely, they may approach their nearest local resilience forum.’  

However, the Early Years Alliance reports that it has been told by several local resilience forums that they have been advised to follow guidance from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government on supplying PPE. Childcare providers are not included on the list of organisations eligible to receive PPE via the forums in that guidance. 

While DfE guidance states that PPE is not routinely required to be worn in childcare settings, beyond what is normally worm for intimate care, it does advise that PPE should be worn by staff if a child starts to display coronavirus symptoms while in their care.

Early Years Alliance chief executive Neil Leitch said that it was unacceptable to leave childcare providers with the prospect of reopening without the necessary protective equipment.

‘The DfE’s own guidance states that if a child displays symptoms of coronavirus, early years practitioners will need to wear PPE, and yet the Government has failed to provide a suitable system to ensure that providers are able to access the PPE they need to deliver care safely,' he said.

 ‘The Government must act urgently to ensure that it delivers an appropriate system which can meet the demand for PPE within the sector.’

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