FitzRoy is dedicated to supplying the PPE our staff need to ensure they can continue their vital work. We acted quickly when the coronavirus outbreak began in the UK to do everything we can to ensure our staff and the people we support are protected.
We spoke to David Podger, whose usual role is business development, but is currently our full time PPE buyer and distributor. He shared the steps we took to put FitzRoy in the strongest position possible.
“Very early on we realised we couldn’t solely depend on our normal suppliers to provide us with the volume of PPE we needed. We run more than 80 services, supporting people with learning disabilities and autism – many with underlying health conditions. We decided to secure large quantities centrally. Over the course of the last 10 weeks we have acquired and distributed hundreds of thousands of items throughout our regions through our new and existing suppliers.
“On a weekly basis I take a van full of stock and drive to meet my regional colleagues and drop off the stock, which they then distribute to our services across the country.
“We are fortunate because we are in a strong position to be able to buy the stock we need when we need it. And because we have a regional system already set up we have been able to set up the distribution of PPE easily. We acted early, and because of this we haven’t had any major stock outs at all. We are supplied with PPE for the next 6-8 weeks which is a brilliant position to be in.
“Local businesses have been very supportive of us as well, we are fortunate enough to have been given 250 litres of hand sanitiser for free from Bombay Sapphire, whose gin distillery is local to our Hampshire services. We also had some aprons and visors manufactured for us by a business local to our Norfolk services, and they were able to provide us with them within a week. The support we’ve had has been brilliant.”
“We have supplied approximately 100,000 masks to our services in the past ten weeks. And it seems to be working. Our support staff have been given very clear instructions for what to use and when, and because of their commitment, so far we have had very few confirmed cases at FitzRoy.”
Health and safety manager, Sheree Marrs, said: “We have been really lucky. David has done an amazing job procuring large quantities of PPE and getting it out to all our services.
“But it is important that we don’t become complacent. This is a crisis, and we remind our staff that PPE is only effective when combined with good hygiene and infection protection and control precautions – including washing your hands regularly and avoiding touching your face with your hands.”