Government is rolling out a free PPE to all care home residents to reduce risk of coronavirus deaths and avoid exacerbating acute illness rates.

Under the new policy, no residents will be required to take part and there will be no requirement for new home carers to take part in training. They will be able to receive the PPE for free via the care sector and the National Care and Palliative Care Services Partnership.

Secretary of State for Health Matt Hancock has warned that the risk of coronavirus and pneumonia among care home residents is limited.

He said: “Across the UK, around 15% of patients with acute respiratory illness arrive in intensive care units with any possible coronavirus infection. Most critically, 12% of patients with pneumonia arrive in intensive care units with any possible coronavirus infection. The risk of Coronavirus infection has recently declined in the north of England and parts of the Midlands, but is still a significant threat to people who are ill in general.

“The Government has called on all healthcare providers to take prompt action and to report the signs and symptoms of an acute respiratory illness in their patients to the NHS. This move will help keep as many people at their most vulnerable, so that they can get the treatment they need to continue to progress as much as possible.

“I have heard from NHS leaders who have visited care homes and hospitals across the country and spoken to care home patients and carers about the risks to their health if they receive a potential coronavirus infection. I have also spoken to some who told me they had never sought to obtain a PPE prior to their bedside visit and would not seek one now, due to the knowledge that such a routine PPE would be compulsory. These cautionary measures should take effect as soon as practical, and all care home residents living in the south west of England and south-east of England will be offered free Personal Health Records to secure PPE.

“The PPE means that care home residents will be able to report any signs and symptoms of any potential coronavirus infection to the NHS and this will take place while other relevant actions are being taken to reduce the risk.”

As part of the guidance, the care sector will select who will be eligible for PPE. Residents who can meet the criteria should contact their care home in due course and ask for the free PPE to be delivered.