COVID-19: Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) are now providing free PPE to the majority of health and social care related sectors. For advice on how to access free PPE please follow the below guidance on 'Ordering PPE'.


PPE is equipment that will protect our workforce against health or safety risks at work. It can include items such as gloves, eye protection and respiratory protective equipment. PPE is used amongst the workforce for several reasons:

  • protect workers from becoming infected by people with infections
  • protect people receiving care, vulnerable to infection, from being infected by workers prevent the spread of infection.

Ordering PPE

UPDATED MARCH 2022: Please read the new arrangements that apply to you and take action.

The DHSC will continue to supply free PPE up to March 2023 or until the Infection Prevention Contract guidance is either withdrawn or substantially amended (whichever is sooner)

1. If you are one of the sectors that have already been receiving PPE through the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) portal. You should have received an email from the DHSC on your migration to the new portal. For more information please visit: PPE portal: how to order COVID-19 personal protective equipment (PPE) - GOV.UK (
 2. If you have NOT been receiving PPE directly from the DHSC but through the Council you CAN now use the DHSC portal for direct supply if the sector you work in is on the below list. The Council will no longer be supplying sectors covered by the DHSC supply routes unless in extreme circumstances. Please follow this link to sign up: Sign-up form for the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Portal - Moving to the online PPE Portal: sectors currently distributed to via local authorities and local resilience forums - DH eXchange (

• Personal Assistants (and/or Personal Assistant employers)

• Extra Resident Unpaid Carers

• Adult Social Care Services (extra care, day services, supported living, care homes, domiciliary care providers etc.)

• Rough Sleeping Services

• Domestic Violence Refuges

If you are unsure on what you require to provide your services please use the guidance on this page or email:  

If you CANNOT obtain PPE supply via the DHSC Portal then please email: 

When you email please state: (failure to give correct details may delay distribution)

  1. Name
  2. Delivery Address
  3. Sector
  4. Items
  5. Quantity
  6. Times/Days Available to take Delivery (if restrictions apply)

Please ensure that you allow plenty of time for the PPE to be delivered.

This FREE distribution service operates Monday to Friday.

PPE Guidance

Guidance on the use of PPE is available from the Department for Health and Social Care and Public Health England.

Government guidance on the use of PPE and technical specifications is set out on the following website links:

Someone has donated PPE to our service

If you have any queries about the quality or safety of any PPE that you have received please contact who will work with Trading Standards to address your concerns.

How should PPE be stored?

PPE must be stored:

  • Securely
  • In an area where there is no risk of contamination.

What do I need to do with my work clothes/uniform?

These are some recommended good practices based on evidence from the literature reviews, testing and effective hand hygiene procedures.

  • Wear short sleeved tops (“bare below the elbows”)
  • Change immediately if uniform or clothing becomes visibly soiled or contaminated.          
  • Wash uniforms and clothing worn at work at the hottest temperature suitable for the fabric
  • Wash heavily soiled uniforms separately
  • Headscarves must be worn unadorned and secured neatly.

It is best practice to change into your uniform when you arrive at work and out of it before you leave. You shouldn’t wear your uniform when travelling. If you wear your own clothes, then you should change when you get home. This does not apply to community health workers when travelling between patients in the same uniform.

We recommend you research your organisation's guidance and processes in place in regard to work clothes/uniform.

How should PPE be disposed of?

The national PPE guidance outlines how PPE should be disposed of. Your organisation will have processes in place for safe disposal of PPE.

In non-clinical settings*, waste must be disposed in a plastic bag and tied, placed into a second bag and tied, stored in a secure place for 72 hours, then put into a normal waste collection service.

Across health care settings where PPE is used amongst suspected or confirmed cases, waste must be disposed using usual clinical waste guidelines.

Additionally, it is important that PPE is put on and taken off correctly. PPE guidance explains how to do this.

*non-clinical settings include services provided by local government, educational settings, voluntary sector, residential/nursing homes, supported living, and home care providers.

Homemade face masks

Homemade face masks are not considered PPE.

Patient uses of PPE

In clinical areas, communal waiting areas and during transportation, it is recommended that possible or confirmed COVID-19 cases wear a fluid-resistant (Type IIR) surgical face mask (FRSM) if this can be tolerated. The aim of this is to minimise the dispersal of respiratory secretions, reduce both direct transmission risk and environmental contamination.

An FRSM should not be worn by patients if there is potential for their clinical care to be compromised (for example, when receiving oxygen therapy via a mask). An FRSM can be worn until damp or uncomfortable.

Follow latest government guidance on PPE.

Should face masks be worn in public places?

In England you must wear a face covering in the following indoor settings (examples are given in brackets):

  • public transport (aeroplanes, trains, trams and buses)
  • taxis and private hire vehicles
  • transport hubs (airports, rail and tram stations and terminals, maritime ports and terminals, bus and coach stations and terminals)
  • shops and supermarkets (places which offer goods or services for retail sale or hire)
  • shopping centres (malls and indoor markets)
  • auction houses
  • premises providing hospitality (bars, pubs, restaurants, cafes), except when seated at a table to eat or drink (see exemptions)
  • post offices, banks, building societies, high-street solicitors and accountants, credit unions, short-term loan providers, savings clubs and money service businesses
  • estate and lettings agents
  • theatres
  • premises providing personal care and beauty treatments (hair salons, barbers, nail salons, massage centres, tattoo and piercing parlours)
  • premises providing veterinary services
  • visitor attractions and entertainment venues (museums, galleries, cinemas, theatres, concert halls, cultural and heritage sites, aquariums, indoor zoos and visitor farms, bingo halls, amusement arcades, adventure activity centres, indoor sports stadiums, funfairs, theme parks, casinos, skating rinks, bowling alleys, indoor play areas including soft-play areas)
  • libraries and public reading rooms
  • places of worship
  • funeral service providers (funeral homes, crematoria and burial ground chapels)
  • community centres, youth centres and social clubs
  • exhibition halls and conference centres
  • public areas in hotels and hostels
  • storage and distribution facilities

You are expected to wear a face covering before entering any of these settings and must keep it on until you leave unless there is a reasonable excuse for removing it.

You should also wear a face covering in indoor places not listed here where social distancing may be difficult and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet.

Face coverings are needed in NHS settings, including hospitals and primary or community care settings, such as GP surgeries. They are also advised to be worn in care homes.

The Department for Education (DfE) has updated its guidance on the use of face coverings for schools and other education institutions that teach people in year 7 and above in England.

 Further detail guidance on face covering can be found at:


PPE Standards and Technical Specifications

Further information regarding UK government specifications for PPE can be found at:

Last updated: 15 March 2022 12:24:32