eBay has announced it is working with teams in the NHS Supply Chain, the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) and the Army/MoD, to create a new online portal to help ease some of the PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) supply issues currently facing the medical community. The new portal, which is currently in a pilot phase, aims to help primary and social care providers to order PPE equipment from NHS Supply Chain.
Within a days of eBay being enlisted to support the NHS, a bespoke portal had been created, which allows an NHS database of healthcare workers to log in and ‘order’ for a limited range of non-acute PPE via the NHS Catalogue. The PPE items are being supplied by NHS Supply Chain via the Clipper Group and despatched via Royal Mail.
The pilot is now in the final stage of testing and is being reviewed on a daily basis, and will be scaled in phases to ensure technical updates can be applied ‘in real time’. The portal uses eBay Marketplace technology that has been developed over 25 years of connecting buyers and sellers, and which is used in the UK alone by 300,000 small and medium sized businesses.
eBay UK VP Rob Hattrell said: “We were asked by the NHS and other partners to deliver technical expertise and resources to address the pressing issue of PPE supply. eBay software engineers from around the world, including at our sites in Portland in the US, Berlin in Germany and here in the UK, have been working round the clock to get this live and I’m delighted that we are now up and running with the pilot. It’s important that we all do what we can to help the NHS at this critical time, we are excited to be a part of this.”
eBay’s role is to build the platform to allow NHS bodies to request it, and is providing this service pro bono to the NHS.