Question to the Department of Health and Social Care:
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of supplies of anti-bacterial filters NHS trusts for people using home ventilators.
We understand how challenging this period has been for people who rely on ventilation and we are doing everything we can to support patients, led by clinical advice.
COVID-19 has caused a significant increase in demand for clinical consumables and has disrupted international supply chains, making it more difficult to source products, including a small number of products for ventilators.
The Department, working closely with NHS England and NHS Improvement, has put in place a range of measures to address these challenges, including making it easier for clinicians to report shortages and identifying opportunities to open up new supply options and using additional brands.
We have received assurances from the key supplier of filters for ventilators that supply chains are now restored and they have resumed processing orders and working through the backlog. Currently none of the National Health Service trusts who supply patients in the community with these consumables are reporting critically low stock levels. However, we will of course keep this under very close review and, if necessary, work with suppliers to prioritise deliveries to areas with the greatest clinical need.
NHS England and NHS Improvement are also working closely with clinicians, trusts and suppliers to prepare for winter and ensure there are sufficient stocks of these consumables to meet the need of all patients who require home ventilation as well as for any future spike in COVID-19 cases going forward.