How hospitals can deal with supply shortages

By Kayleigh Shooter
The COVID-19 pandemic has hit many hospitals with PPE and medical equipment shortages, how can they overcome this...

 The healthcare professionals on the frontline of the fight against COVID-19 have faced shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE), ventilators, intensive care units and much more. Therefore, now more than ever the correct supply chain strategies need to be adopted, and fast.

Struggling hospitals can be helped through the correct operations management and supply chain strategies. The pandemic has generated an overwhelming demand on healthcare systems that were already running at full capacity with limited resources, whilst COVID restrictions have eased the strain on healthcare, that is only part of a larger solution. 

Whilst managing the demand is all well and good, it is not the standalone solution for recovery, it needs to be partnered with effective strategies regarding the management of supplies and resources that are required for patient care. The Coronavirus pandemic has caused a large influx in the demand for tests for both staff, patients and also the general public if they present symptoms such as a high temperature or a new and continuous cough. 

Shortages in tests and PPE have left hospital staff at a vulnerability to infection of the vicious respiratory disease, for example in Italy healthcare practitioners accounted for 9% of all COVID-19 confirmed cases. 

Another way that demand and pressure can be reduced is through engaging in systematic de-bottlenecking. Which means not simply only focusing on existing bottlenecks, in addition also identifying and forecasting future bottlenecks which then will allow for time to address them.

Whilst the pandemic has impacted and transformed our day to day lives, one advantage is that it is a chance to innovate and learn in real time, you need to learn why there were such shortages and how you can go about it next time by evaluating what went well and what did not, this time round.

How you can slow the spread of coronavirus:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds
  • Use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
  • Wash your hands as soon as you get home
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
  • Put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards

Find out the key information about COVID-19 here.

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