PPE for early learning and childcare services (Added 30 June)

To offer a route to buying PPE for private, voluntary and independent early learning and childcare services, including childminders and out-of-school care, the Scottish Government has set up a framework agreement with third-party supplier Lyreco.

Lyreco offers a range of products to purchase, including face masks, aprons, gloves, visors, hand sanitiser, goggles and safety glasses. All products are subject to availability and prices are updated regularly on the Lyreco website.

Please note that this is a ‘pay for’ service, and the provider will be responsible for paying for any products purchased from Lyreco under this agreement.

A list of frequently asked questions can be found here.

If you wish to open an account with Lyreco, please first read the privacy notice, then complete the form, which must include your Care Inspectorate CS number and email it to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Once your CS number is confirmed as being a registered care service your account will be set up. This may take a few days depending on the volume of forms returned. Lyreco will then give you access to their online ordering site, where you will be able to see the full range of products available and current prices. Opening an account does not place you under any obligation to place an order.

Local authority providers should continue to access PPE through their usual routes, in most cases through Scotland Excel.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Health Protection Scotland has published revised guidance on the use of use of personal protective equipment (PPE) by health and social care workers, in the context of the current coronavirus COVID-19 emergency.

You can download the guidance here.

This guidance has been updated to reflect pandemic evolution and the changing level of risk of healthcare exposure to coronavirus COVID-19 in the UK. It is recognised that in contexts where coronavirus COVID-19 is circulating in the community at high rates, health and social care workers may be subject to repeated risk of contact and droplet transmission during their daily work. It is also understood that in routine work there may be challenges in establishing whether patients and individuals meet the case definition for COVID-19 prior to a face-to-face assessment or care episode.

This guidance is also updated to reflect the need for enhanced protection of people in vulnerable groups undergoing shielding. 

The main changes are:

  • enhanced PPE recommendations for a wide range of health and social care contexts
  • inclusion of individual and organisational risk assessment at local level to inform PPE use
  • recommendation of single sessional (extended) use of some PPE items
  • re-usable PPE can be used. Advice on suitable decontamination arrangements should be obtained from the manufacturer, supplier or local infection control
  • guidance for when case status is unknown and coronavirus is circulating at high levels
  • recommendation on patient use of facemasks.

 Safe ways for working for all health and care workers

  • Staff should be trained on putting on and taking off PPE. Videos are available online for training.
  • Staff should know what PPE they should wear for each setting and context.
  • Staff should have access to the PPE that protects them for the appropriate setting and context.
  • Gloves and aprons are subject to single use as per SICPs with disposal after each patient or resident contact.
  • Fluid repellent surgical mask and eye protection can be used for a session of work rather than a single patient or resident contact.
  • Gowns can be worn for a session of work in higher risk areas.
  • Hand hygiene should be practiced and extended to exposed forearms, after removing any element of PPE.
  • Staff should take regular breaks and rest periods.

Interim guidance on the use of face masks and face coverings (Added 24 June)

The Scottish Government has released interim guidance on the wider use of face masks and face coverings in health and social care.

IRIC Alcohol-based hand rubs risk of fire (Added 1 May)

The Incident Reporting & Investigation Centre has released an information message containing guidance on the risk of fire from alcohol-based hand rubs. 

You can view the information centre here.

Donations of PPE and other supplies (Added 29 April)

There have been instances of well-meaning individuals approaching services with offers of a range of PPE equipment.  If you are approached, please direct them to the Scottish Government supply chain hub, which is now set up to receive donations for use in the health and social care system and ensure that any donated PPE meets quality and safety standards before it is issued.

This single point of contact is available to any business, community or voluntary organisation now wishing to make donations of PPE, scrubs, uniforms and other supplies. Donors can email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Guidance is also available to those offering support in this way here.

Access to PPE once all other normal routes have been exhausted (Added 24 April) 

Social care providers can refer to this guide for information on how they can now access preventative Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

Providers should phone the triage helpline (0300 303 3020) to access their preventative PPE kit.

Most Health & Social Care Partnerships now have local hubs in place. The Triage helpline will advise on local arrangements, and will also issue providers with their Single-use Collection Reference number.

Reccomended PPE for social care by setting (Added 24 April) 

Providers can refer to this guide for guideance on appropriate use of PPE. In addition to standard infection prevention and control precautions, this guide can be reffered to.

The correct order for putting on, taking off and disposal of PPE (Added 24 April) 

Providers can refer to this NHS Scotland video guide for guidance on the correct order of putting on, taking off and disposal of PPE. 

Individual’s home or usual place of residence (Added 24 April) 

For provision of direct care to any member of a household where one or more is a possible or confirmed case, plastic aprons, Fluid Resistant Surgical Masks, eye protection and gloves are recommended.

For delivery of care to any individual meeting criteria for shielding (vulnerable groups) or where anyone in the household meets criteria for shielding, as a minimum, single use disposable plastic aprons, surgical mask and gloves must be worn for the protection of the patient. 

In clinical areas, communal waiting areas and during transportation, it is recommended that possible or confirmed COVID-19 cases wear a fluid-resistant (Type IIR) surgical face mask (FRSM) if this can be tolerated.

Good hand washing technique (Added 24 April) 

Providers can refer to this NHS Scotland guide and video guide for guidance on good hand washing technique.

Revised PPE guidance (last updated 9 April 2020)

NHS NSS triage centre for social care (updated 24 March)

NHS National Services Scotland (NSS) (NSS) has set up a helpline to deal with social care supplies during COVID-19.   

At the moment, the helpline is to be used only in cases where there is an urgent supply shortage and a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19.  This will be reviewed regularly in the coming days and weeks. 

Care service providers can reach the NHS NSS triage centre by calling 0300 303 3020.

When contacting the helpline, providers will be required to:

  • answer a series of short screening questions 
  • confirm they have fully explored business as usual procurement routes
  • confirm they have a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 and therefore have a need for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
  • provide their Care Inspectorate registration number.

The helpline will be open 8am – 8pm, 7 days a week.

Clarification from NSS on use of vinyl gloves

Dear Provider,

We recently (21 May) wrote to you in relation to the supply of gloves for social care. Please accept my apologies for any lack of clarity caused as a result of our previous communication; I hope I can remove any confusion now.

Firstly, there is no change in any PPE best practice guidance. 

NSS National Procurement has supplied nitrile medical examination gloves throughout the COVID-19 pandemic response, and recently we have also issued vinyl gloves to the social care hubs.

Best practice guidance on national infection prevention and control suggests that nitrile gloves should be used where there is a risk of exposure to blood/body fluids, or when using hypochlorite for cleaning. Vinyl gloves continue to be suitable for uses where there is no risk of such exposure.

NSS National Procurement is committed to ensuring the provision of the right PPE to our colleagues in social care, so that the right items are available to support the right task. In the short term, NSS National Procurement will only issue nitrile gloves to social care hubs. We will engage with the sector to assess the future balance of need for vinyl gloves and provide regular updates.

If your organisation requires stock of nitrile gloves before you can access them through the social care hub, please contact our contact centre on 0300 303 3020 to request additional supply and we can urgently deliver this.

Kind regards,

Gordon Beattie

Director of National Procurement

NHS National Services Scotland

Other information and links