A lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) is putting the town’s response to coronavirus at risk, says the council.

Reading Borough Council (RBC) is demanding urgent government action to get more PPE on the frontline amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

The council’s first delivery of PPE contained just 40 per cent of the equipment ordered, and subsequent deliveries came at short notice and with few details of what items would be available.

Specialist doctor Peter Tun, 62, passed away on Monday, April 13 at Royal Berkshire Hospital's intensive care unit after contracting Covid-19.

Councillor Jason Brock, Reading Borough Council leader, said it is “unacceptable” that local councils and healthcare colleagues at the frontline of the crisis do not know with any certainty when the next PPE delivery will be received and what it will contain.

He said: “Central government now needs to step up and provide both clarity and certainty on PPE supplies, and to increase the supply of equipment, to ensure the right PPE reaches the right staff and the staff of healthcare partners, at the right time.

“That planning just cannot be done unless we have the security of knowing when the next PPE delivery will arrive.”

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RBC has added its name to a growing list of local authorities calling for urgent national action.

It said the short-term nature of deliveries has left it unable to plan effectively for the PPE needs of care homes, GPs, pharmacies and funeral directors, as well as its own social care staff.

The shortage has been compounded by confusion nationally on how local authorities and healthcare partners should be accessing PPE, and a lack of clarity on the correct method of distribution in each area, according to RBC.

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The council is currently planning for the PPE needs of its own social care staff and the urgent requests from healthcare partners where they cannot source PPE elsewhere.

Cllr Brock said: “I have personally visited council staff at the Civic Offices co-ordinating the distribution of PPE locally, and they are doing a magnificent job under very difficult circumstances, as are our social care staff and healthcare professionals across Reading.”

Fifteen businesses, schools and colleges in Reading have manufactured or donated PPE to the council for social care workers looking after vulnerable members of the community and other essential council services.

But RBC said supplies continue to be low with local demand for PPE growing.

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Praising the local response to the crisis as “tremendous”, he highlighted the efforts of University of Reading, Leighton Park School, Reading College and the local business community.

PPE equipment has been donated to the council by the following local businesses so far:

Jewsons; Crystal Nails; Thames Lido; Skin Laser Removals; Cocoon Hair and Beauty; Electric Lady Tattoos; Cunning Fox Tattoos; Claire Williams Beauty; Highdown school; Rivermead Leisure Centre; Reading College; Reading University; Leighton Park School; Town Farm Butchers Shop, and J Mould.