A Merseyside organisation is bulk buying and supplying PPE to the NHS and smaller organisations who have found themselves unable to access the vital supplies through the government - and is fundraising to help cover the cost of their work.
Help Bank Finder, the team behind the groundbreaking MyFoodBankFinder app, are sourcing protective equipment and delivering direct to organisations in need during the Covid19 pandemic.
And they say that contrary to reports, supplies of both the lifesaving PPE and real-time Covid19 testing kits ARE there, and available - the government is just failing to access them.
"Every supplier we know that the government has spoken to has said the exact same thing to us - emailed the Gov, took weeks to get a reply, then more silence - that results in the suppliers having to sell abroad. It's the same. Every. Single. Time" said HBF director Dom Lipscombe,
"It's also worth mentioning that we've had a department of USA's Homeland Security reach out to us, but not our own government..."
Suppliers and distributors who want to be added to the HBF list can get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org with details of their products and examples of existing clients
Explaining why HBF chose to launch the crowdfunder, which is already nearing £5,000 from hundreds of donations, Dom said:
"We have so many groups of people contacting us who are paying for their own protection. This should not be happening - these people are saving lives. They're already being massively underpaid, so why are they being under-protected too?"
"As a general rule, we are against crowdfunding to help fund the NHS as it leaves the door wide-open for abuse to be underfunded in the future. But that leaves us with a major dilemma- let the people saving lives pay to protect themselves and stick by this principle or, in these extraordinary times- break with this principle in order to do what we can"
"We will be pooling all the donated funds with the money we receive for private orders. This will allow us to negotiate considerably better prices which we'll pass on to the people who are relying on us for their PPE"
Why are you doing this?
"To be blunt, we're sick of people taking liberties. We've seen suppliers try and charge over 10x mark-ups on some products which are in extremely high demand such as disposable aprons. It's disgusting.I have a huge love for what the NHS do, and they've really done so much for my family, my friend's family, and so on"
How are you sure your suppliers are reliable?
"One of the hardest parts of this procurement has been vetting the suppliers. We've done so much due diligence and have likely knocked back some reliable suppliers, but we don't want to take any chances. If something seems off, we're off"
"We won't put our name to rip offs and we've been very clear with suppliers when we think their prices are 'not at market rate'. I appreciate companies have to make a profit and costs (especially air freight) have gone up, but come on!"
How can people order PPE?
"To become part of the PPE Pool, email email@example.com with a list of what you need and in what quantities. Nothing is too big or too small. We hand-delivered part of a £34 order the other day, while also dealing with an £8k order"
"We're actually waiting on a delivery for over 30,000 Surgical Masks + 1,000 Respirator masks in the next few days. While the demand is high, the products are there albeit a bit slower than usual"
"Today we've been negotiating with a supplier regarding 50,000 Covid-19 Real time tests which are available in abundance. We are about to put an order in for 10,000 FFP2 masks for one organisation. Contrary to reports, the PPE is there and available"
"We are now working on behalf of smaller organisations to pool orders together so we can meet minimum order quantities and bring down the price for everyone. For bigger orders, we are passing the buyer info directly to the relevant supplier"