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Personal Protective Equipment: Prison and Probation Staff

Volume 677: debated on Tuesday 9 June 2020

What assessment he has made of the adequacy of personal protective equipment for (a) prison and (b) probation staff during the covid-19 outbreak. (902955)

Personal protective equipment is critical to protect staff and those in our care where close contact is necessary and unavoidable. There is currently adequate stock and forward supply of PPE, in accordance with public health advice. We have stock in the hundreds of thousands for aprons, coveralls, eye protection, pairs of gloves, respirator masks and fluid-resistant surgical masks. However, we are making continued preparations and keeping demand for PPE under regular review as we move into the next phase of managing this outbreak.

I am grateful to the Secretary of State for his answer, and for the support he has given me in recent years in my attempts to make sure that HMP Nottingham is the safest environment it can be. In that vein, will he give an assurance to staff at Nottingham, and indeed prison staff across the estate, that as lockdown restrictions are eased, they will still have access to those PPE stocks that he talked about, and that if that is what they need for them to be comfortable at work, they will be permitted to keep wearing it?

I am very grateful to the hon. Gentleman. He knows, and he has followed very carefully, the good progress that is being made in HMP Nottingham. I know he would want me to pay tribute to all prison staff for the incredible work they have been doing throughout this outbreak. I can give him such an assurance. We are looking to ease the lockdown, and as the Minister of State, Ministry of Justice, my hon. and learned Friend the Member for South East Cambridgeshire (Lucy Frazer) said, we published the plan for recovery last week. For example, for visits to prisons, it seems sensible that visitors should wear coverings, so that we can minimise the risk of an outbreak coming into prisons. All those measures will continue to be discussed with the unions, as we have done throughout this outbreak.