TSA works with Government on reusable healthcare PPE system

29 April 2020

The Textile Service Association (TSA) latest update includes news on its efforts to help resolve the shortage of healthcare PPE, support hospitality laundries, make sense of the job retention scheme and a successful foray into webinar territory.

TSA is currently in discussions with the Government on how it can come up with a long-term workable solution to help sort the evolving PPE gowns issue with the use of reusable gowns for every single hospital, care home, nursing home and primary care centre. The Government estimates the current demand is around 400,000 a day for single use gowns whereas one reusable gown can be washed between 50 and 70 times.

TSA CEO David Stevens said: “We estimate annual savings of £400m, a reduction of 43m tonnes of clinical waste, a guaranteed supply for 12 months and so on. However, at the moment the process of getting the project started is unfortunately very slow due to the disorganised Government committees we are in communication with. We shall keep you informed of any updates on this topic. Any senior contacts within Government would help in the lobbying process here.

“We have formed a healthcare committee made up of a selection of operators who help provide guidance and technical support to the project and who met for the first time on 27 April. A special thank you to Richard O’Brien from Elis who is taking a leading role on the work group.”

TSA also called on the Guild of Cleaners and Launderers (GCL) to become involved. Follow link below for the full story.


Hospitality grant
Stevens also reported that continuing the TSA’s targeted approach of the open letter to engage support for hospitality laundries responses have been received from No.10, BEIS and the Chancellor’s office. “Unfortunately, the responses are quite generic and do not acknowledge our specific industry concerns. However, we have had some further positive news that over three laundries in England have now been provided with the hospitality status. Therefore, please keep lobbying locally, if we are all persistent, hopefully, we will be recognised as part of the hospitality sector,`’ said Stevens.

Government job retention scheme
The web portal went live last week, and TSA said it has received confirmation from some members that they have already received the refund for furlough pay. “However,” Stevens said, “unknown to us at the time, but if you have already claimed for your March’s payroll you may be required to wait for a further three weeks to reapply for April’s payroll. Therefore, to help with cash flow, if you have not yet made a claim you may consider waiting until you have run your April payroll and merging the claim for March and April together.”

 He added: “While it is not the intention of the scheme to encourage firms to make staff redundant we all need to start preparing for life after Covid-19 so where you believe you have no option but to reduce staff levels it seems that you can use the furlough scheme to help pay for notice periods which obviously need to be based on full pay. We would recommend you take your own advice but maybe something you wish to think about.

It seems there is still some confusion over holiday pay, he said. “If you have asked staff to take any holiday that they accrue while they are furloughed it does have to be on full pay so does complicate your payroll run! We can discuss more on the webinar calls.”

The first webinar for small independent laundries was hosted by Guy Turvill (Swiss Laundry and TSA board member) and David Stevens last week. Said Stevens: “It was very successful with 50 attendees. Thank you to everyone who attended, and it was great to see so many familiar faces as most of us are working from home in isolation. It re-emphasised that we are all in this together and that we can help each other.”

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