The Isle of Wight Council insists it is ‘doing its utmost to make personal protective equipment (PPE) available’ to self employed carers, after it advised some ‘to source it on eBay’.

Currently, the local authority says it is the responsibility of carers – who are self employed – to obtain their own PPE.

However, due to the coronavirus pandemic supply chains are struggling to cope with demand in the UK, reportedly leaving some self-employed carers here without.

In an email sent by the council’s Personal Assistant market – and seen by Isle of Wight Radio – self employed carers have been told that PPE ‘should be used at all times when providing care for individuals’.

The council email states that it wants confirmation that all carers have access to the correct PPE equipment.

It says that if carers are struggling to source PPE, they should look online – on websites such as Ebay and Physique.

When asked why the Isle of Wight Council was not providing self-employed carers with PPE, a spokesperson said ‘it is not easy to get supplies’:

“Personal assistants in this situation are not employed by the council, but even so we appreciate the need for them to have protective equipment, as all carers should. It’s not easy to get supplies of protective equipment at the moment, even for the council, but we are doing our utmost to find a way to help personal assistants, and we will be in touch with them directly as soon as we have more information.

“We fully appreciate the challenges personal assistants may have experienced in obtaining PPE supplies over recent weeks and understand their anxiety. A massive increase in demand for both PPE and non-PPE products such as specialist clothing, has put the supply chain to deliver such products under significant pressure, locally, nationally and internationally. The council’s position on this matter is that personal assistants, as much as any other front line carer working in social care, needs access to the PPE required.

“Whilst there is an expectation that carers/ personal assistants provide their own PPE, and currently do so we recognise there are current shortages and therefore we are doing our utmost to make  PPE available to personal assistants who are having problems sourcing it.”