Ebay is working with the NHS to create a new dedicated portal allowing frontline healthcare workers to order personal protective equipment (PPE) for free.
Working in partnership with the NHS, the Department of Health and Social Care and the army, Ebay has created the portal in a matter of days which it says is now in the final stages of testing.
Its new portal, announced during yesterday’s Government Coronavirus briefing, will provide any primary care and social care providers on the health service’s database with access to PPE for free at the point of order directly from the NHS.
During its current pilot testing the portal has already distributed 42,000 pieces of equipment, and has been structured in such a way that it can be scaled up rapidly in stages, ensuring any technical faults are properly managed.
Currently the equipment is being delivered by the Clipper Group and Royal Mail, with logistics aid from the army.
“Since the start of the outbreak, we’ve delivered over a billion pieces of PPE to the frontline, but we recognise more still needs to be done,” health minister Jo Churchill said.
“This is why I’m delighted to be partnering with Ebay to pilot a new online portal which offers an additional route for health and social care workers to access PPE.”
Ebay UK’s vice president Rob Hattrell added: “We were asked by the NHS and other partners to deliver technical expertise and resources to address the pressing issue of PPE supply.
“Ebay software engineers from around the world, including at our sites in Portland in the US, Berlin in Germany and here in the UK, have been working round the clock to get this live and I’m delighted that we are now up and running with the pilot.
“It’s important that we all do what we can to help the NHS at this critical time, we are excited to be a part of this.”