WellChild has received more than 350 urgent requests for PPE such as gloves, aprons, and face masks from families across the country, with numbers growing every day.
Despite the pledge that all carers would be given the right PPE by the Government, it is not reaching those that need it, with advice for families unclear on what they are entitled to, or how to get it.
In response to the sudden surge in demand, WellChild’s COVID-19 Response Team has sourced more than 76,000 items of PPE, which they are distributing to families across the UK. However, with limited stocks and 60% of the charity’s income expected to be lost this year through cancelled or postponed fundraising events and partnerships, WellChild is appealing for help.
Julie Ridgeley, who cares for her 16-year-old daughter Lia said: “Lia has Cerebral Palsy with Epilepsy and needs oxygen on a regular basis. She needs round the clock care and is very vulnerable. Lia has care from a nurse once a week who we pay through personal independent payments and we do not have PPE for her. The NHS has not supplied PPE for Lia’s nurse, as she is a private carer. Without the PPE WellChild has provided Lia may not have been able to receive care from her nurse.”
Tara Parker, Director of Programmes at WellChild, who is also a parent carer for her 20-year-old daughter Abigail said: “I know only too well the pressure of obtaining PPE in this crisis. We have not received Abigail’s prescription since February and last week finally got a box of mixed supplies (many of which were not suitable) delivered by an NHS volunteer. The NHS has made a pledge that it will supply PPE for all carers, private, agency or NHS, but it is not reaching those who need it.
Thousands of vulnerable families hidden in communities across the country are totally reliant on external carers coming into their home. Many are having to cope without the care they need because they have been advised to shield but cannot provide the PPE that their carers need.
Their children require round-the-clock medical care, which is emotionally and physically exhausting for a family to manage on their own. If we do not act fast, many will reach breaking point, placing their children and families at significant risk.
WellChild are here for families who need PPE, but with limited stocks and reduced resources we need urgent help to keep the support going.”
Families caring for a seriously ill child can request PPE from the WellChild COVID-19 Response Ream at https://www.wellchild.org.uk/direct-response/.