Paschal Donohoe says PPE from China is not standard for Irish health service

The Minister said the equipment is being assessed by the HSE. File picture.

Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe said the personal protective equipment that has arrived from China is not standard for the Irish health service.

Paschal Donohoe said it is currently being examined by the HSE and "good use will be found for it."

He said that efforts will continue "to look for additional equipment."

Mr Donohoe said: "It is the case that the protective equipment that is now being brought into Ireland, for some of our healthcare workers will be different to the protective equipment they have become used to."

His comments come as the HSE’s national lead for antibiotic resistance has said that at present “we’re ok” for PPE, but he warned there is a need to keep supply lines open.

Professor Martin Cormican also pointed out that demand can rise very quickly and that it is “a very volatile situation.”

If there was a major outbreak in a particular area then demand could go up, he told RTÉ radio’s News at One. There would then be logistical issues of getting equipment to the area of the outbreak.

“It is a very challenging situation,” he acknowledged.

Prof Cormican said that a shipment that arrived on Sunday night from a new supplier turned out to contain some items that were not suitable, some were suitable and others were of “limited use.”

It was useful to have a new supply line as it had become very difficult internationally to secure new suppliers, Prof Cormican said. However, the HSE will have to work with the supplier to ensure that they don’t get the unsuitable items again.

Earlier: Concerns raised over PPE equipment procured

There are concerns that some of the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) being distributed to healthcare workers is not up to standard.

Several consignments have been arriving here from China this week.

These new quality issues add to concerns about the shortage of PPE equipment including masks, gowns, and goggles.

Attention has focused on the type of equipment available since it arrived.

There are reports from frontline staff that the masks are poor quality and the gowns are too small.

The HSE has placed an order of over €200m however there are fears it may not materialize to the extent expected.

HSE Chief Executive Paul Reid said efforts are being made to secure adequate supplies.

He said: "I know the issue of PPE (personal protective equipment) has been an issue of major concern. We have been in negotiations worldwide to secure a very significant order.

Mr Reid said that order has started to arrive this week however other efforts are being made to secure other supplies of PPE.

He said: "We are however engaged to secure alternative stocks should these supplies not materialise to the extent we expect.

"It's a very competitive worldwide market but our procurement teams have done really well to secure what we have to date."