HEALTH Secretary Jeane Freeman has pledged everyone who provides social care, including family carers and personal assistants, will have access to equipment to protect them from coronavirus.

Local hubs will distribute supplies to social care providers struggling to get enough protective personal equipment (PPE) from tomorrow, it has been announced.

Unpaid or family carers and personal assistants, who are employed directly by individuals to provide care, will also be able to access the service.

Freeman highlighted that global supply chains had been put under “immense pressure” during the crisis.

She said: “The Scottish Government values the importance of everyone who is providing social care and we want to ensure they have access to appropriate PPE.

“As we respond to the challenges from global scarcity of PPE, we have worked with partners to agree an improved model that will ensure all social care providers have access to supplies from national NHS stock.

“This has only been possible because of a shared aim to ensure the right PPE gets to the right people at the right time and to keep everyone safe.

“In the coming weeks, we will collectively monitor how this model is operating, identifying challenges quickly and taking action as we deal with the evolving nature of the pandemic.”

Councillor Stuart Currie, health and social care spokesperson for the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (Cosla), welcomed the announcement.

He said: “Local Government has worked with partners across the sector to develop this model to ensure those who are supporting vulnerable people within their communities and all parts of the workforce have access to the PPE they need.”

Concerns have previously been raised over a shortages of PPE supplies. A row broke out after care providers said suppliers were prioritising the English health and social care service over Scotland.

On Friday, around 11 million face masks and 100,000 testing kits arrived in Scotland from China, with one million of the new masks earmarked for NHS Wales.

It follows a separate flight from China last weekend which delivered 10m surgical masks and infusion pumps, used to deliver fluids and medication to patients.