In March 2020, the World Health Organisation declared COVID-19 a global pandemic which led to an unprecedented increase in worldwide demand for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), triggering severe disruption to global supply chains.
The HSE was charged with the extraordinary challenge of ensuring the supply of PPE, with a need to expand sourcing, logistics and distribution capacity for the supply of PPE to manage the volume required and ensure that frontline services have access to supplies where and when they need it.
HSE Health Business Services has led the response through a multi-agency approach with regulatory support from the Health Products Regulatory Authority.
EU Commission’s Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative (CRII) and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)
The two ERDF Regional Programmes in Ireland responded to the COVID-19 pandemic by developing a Health Support Scheme to part fund the HSE’s drive to secure and sustain continuity of access and supply of essential PPE for the health services in Ireland.
This funding has been facilitated by the EU Commission’s CRII and CRII Plus Regulations – Reg 2020/460 to support operations and foster crisis response capacities in the context COVID-19; and Reg 2020/558 to support exceptional measures for use of European Structural Investment Funds for Covid-related support.
ERDF funding of €286,580,931 has been awarded to the HSE as a single beneficiary for operation(s) from the Border, Midlands & Western (BMW) Regional Operational Programme (€97,415,632), and the Southern & Eastern (S&E) Regional Operational Programme (€189,165,299) for the supply of COVID-19 PPE to the health service in the S&E and BMW regions.
The S&E Regional Operational Programme and the BMW Regional Operational Programme are managed respectively by the Southern Regional Assembly and the Northern & Western Regional Assembly, and are co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund.