Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

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Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Page last updated at 2pm 30 May 2022

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Current PPE escalation level

Risk of COVID-19 transmission in Brisbane south’s clinic settings is currently considered moderate. Clinical settings include: 

  • residential aged care facilities 
  • residential disability care facilities 
  • community health care settings (general practice and dentistry),  

Sourcing PPE 

With evidence of PPE commercial availability, it is expected that practices seek their own commercial supply of PPE before requesting supplied through the National Medical Stockpile (NMS). 

For a list of readily available commercial sources of PPE (including surgical face masks, P2/N95 respirators, eye and face protection, gowns and more) refer to the Queensland Government’s What’s on Offer website, that has been designed to connect buyers with suppliers. Where local commercial supply is not available, Brisbane South PHN is distributing limited quantities and brands of surgical and P2/N95 respirators and eye protection goggles and other equipment from the NMS on behalf of the Australian Government. View further information about PPE distribution through PHNs nationwide

PPE bundles for general practices treating COVID-19 positive patients face-to-face 

The Australian Government Department of Health provided guidance on access to PPE bundles and pulse oximeters for practices willing to treat COVID-19-positive patients face-to-face. The distribution of PPE through PHNs communications statement, outlines the PPE available, eligibility criteria and obligations of GPs, ACCHSs and GPRCs wishing to access the NMS. 

PPE bundles for pharmacies administering COVID-19 vaccinations and boosters 

The Australian Government Department of Health have released guidance on access to PPE bundles for pharmacists administering COVID-19 vaccinations and boosters. This temporary PPE supply is part of the Australian Government’s $180 million Living With COVID-19 Primary Care Package, and aims to support the safe management of COVID-19 positive patients in the primary care setting. The package will be available to pharmacists until June 2022.  
Eligible pharmacists can request: 

  • a 4 week supply of P2/N95 respirators (additional orders can be placed every month if required up until June 2022) 
  • a one-off supply of reusable goggles or a reusable face shield. 
  • Request a pharmacy PPE bundle. 

Emergency PPE supply from the National Medical Stockpile

Requesting PPE from the NMS:

  • Eye protection goggles – available for general practices, Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHS), after-hours GP home visiting services, medical deputising services (MDS), nurse practitioner owned or led primary care practices and allied health professionals. Please note that community pharmacies are not eligible to receive eye protection goggles from the NMS. Eye protection goggles are reusable and are a single allocation of two goggles per eligible staff member.
    Request eye protection goggles (eligibility criteria applies).
  • Surgical mask requests –  available for general practices, ACCHS, community pharmacy, MDS and a limited supply for allied health professionals.
    Request surgical masks
  • P2/N95 respirator requests – available only to primary care providers (i.e. GPs or nurses) providing health care where risk assessment determines a P2/N95 respiratory masks should be used.
    Request P2/N95 respirators

Safe PPE use and resources 

The following resources are available to support safe PPE use: 

Video – Correct use of PPE

Fit testing and use of P2 / N95 respiratory masks

The following resources provide guidance on fit testing and use of P2/N95 respiratory masks. 

Queensland Health PPE guidance for healthcare delivery (Pandemic Response Guidance) outlining: 

  • general practice PPE recommendations – refer Table 3 Healthcare settings including when P2/N95 respirators are required. 

Infection Control Expert Group Guidance on the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) for health care workers in the context of COVID-19 with key recommendations:

  • All health care workers should follow standard and transmission-based precautions as described in the Australian Guidelines for the Prevention and Control of Infection in Healthcare (2021)
  • Healthcare workers who wear P2/N95 respirators should complete fit testing before first use, and perform a fit (seal) check each time they are used. In situations where fit testing has not yet been carried out, and a P2/N95 respirator is recommended for use, a fit-checked P2/N95 respirator is preferred to a surgical mask. 
  • All healthcare workers providing direct patient care or working within the patient/client/resident zone for individuals with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 should have access to P2/N95 respirators. 
  • For healthcare workers providing direct patient care or working within the patient/client/resident zone for individuals with suspected or confirmed COVID-19, the choice between P2/N95 respirator or surgical mask should be based on an assessment of risk of transmission. 
  • Assessment of risk of transmission of COVID-19 to healthcare workers should include consideration of: 
    • the individual patient/client/resident’s pre-existing likelihood of COVID-19 
    • patient/client/resident factors 
    • physical location of care. 

Queensland Health Guidance document for Fit testing of P2/N95 masks in respiratory protection programs outlines: 

  • the difference between fit checking and fit testing 
  • qualitative fit testing (a facial fit testing giving pass or fail results that relies on the wearer’s subjective response to aerosolised test agent) 
  • quantitative fit testing (objective numerical fit testing results through the use of special particle counting breathing zone, which does not rely on the subject’s response to a test agent) 
Qualitative fit testingQuantitative fit testing
  • fit test program administrator functions 
  • fit test operator/assessor ‘competent person model 
  • recording of fit testing.

Fit testing resources – resources provided by 3M, but are applicable to other brands