Independent review of the management of personal protective equipment

21 April 2020: The Auditor-General will provide an independent review of the Ministry of Health’s management of personal protective equipment (PPE) required for the COVID-19 response.

The Auditor-General has agreed with the Ministry of Health (the Ministry) to provide an independent review for the public and Parliament of the Ministry’s management of personal protective equipment (PPE) required for the COVID-19 response.

Our review will include how the Ministry manages the stock of PPE, ensures an adequate supply, and distributes the PPE. We will assess the controls over procurement, distribution to district health boards and others, and controls over the stock levels. We will report on how the Ministry is responding to challenges and recommend improvements where appropriate.

Our focus will be on the Ministry’s approach from early 2020 and in response to COVID-19.

We will not physically inspect stock levels because our staff cannot visit storage locations in the current environment. We are not clinical specialists so our review will not cover the appropriateness of the Ministry’s clinical guidance on PPE use.

The Ministry has needed to move quickly to address the current needs. In particular, it has needed to set up new approaches to national reserves and stock levels, ordering, freight management, distribution, and advice on the appropriate use of PPE.

The Ministry’s priority is dealing with the COVID-19 situation and our work will be designed to minimise any disruption and use of Ministry staff’s time.

We expect to have completed our review in four weeks, and we will report publicly on our findings.