Responding to Lord Deighton’s appointment to produce PPE production, Niall Dickson, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, which represents organisations across healthcare, said:
"We welcome the appointment of Lord Deighton to lead efforts to produce PPE for health and social care staff. We know that the supply chain is working 24/7 and stretching every sinew to secure enough PPE but even if it now looks like we should be able to navigate this weekend, the global shortage of fluid repellent gowns to protect staff means we face significant challenges in the weeks ahead.
"Whilst Lord Deighton’s appointment will not on its own answer all of those challenges, the government is right to make an appointment with the production of PPE as their sole focus. His experience as Chief Executive of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games and as Commercial Secretary at the Treasury, makes him well placed to recognise the scale of the challenge before him and to identify issues with the wider supply chain.
"This is a crisis and it’s deeply disturbing that we are in this position. Unfortunately, whilst the government was right to issue an alert advising what alternative protection can be used in emergencies, where there is no supply, this weekend has set the confidence of the health service back following the guidance issued a couple of weeks ago which was broadly welcomed. Lord Deighton’s appointment is the right one but this really is a national effort and we need a relentless focus on upscaling fluid repellent gown supplies in particular. The challenge before him and us is an Olympic one to ensure that the PPE made available for health and care staff meets the gold standard."