Webwatch: eBay builds new bespoke portal for NHS to order protective equipment
International e-commerce giant eBay has built a new pilot e-portal for NHS staff to order protective equipment used to tackle the coronavirus outbreak safely.
The firm said it had built the bespoke e-portal “within days” of being enlisted to support the NHS and that the pilot was in the final stage of testing.
It uses eBay’s marketplace technology to help primary and social care providers order personal protective equipment (PPE) equipment, the company said.
The portal can only be accessed by people on an NHS database of healthcare workers who can log in and shop at no cost for a limited range of non-acute PPE via the NHS Catalogue, eBay added.
The PPE is being supplied by NHS Supply Chain via the Clipper Group and dispatched by Royal Mail, with more than 42,000 pieces being delivered in the pilot phase, the firm added.
The company said it had worked with the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), Ministry of Defence and NHS Supply Chain to create the new online portal and it was providing the service pro bono to the NHS.
EBay’s UK vice president Rob Hattrell (pictured) 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.”
General Sir Nick Carter, chief of the defence staff, said the armed forces were working with the NHS to tackle the shortage of PPE for health and social care staff.
Speaking at the daily Downing Street press conference on Wednesday, Sir Nick said that one reserve Major was designing an e-portal in partnership with eBay to distribute protective equipment to health and social care workers.
He added: “He has really stepped up to the plate – his daytime job is as a logistics expert who runs Google’s transport network across Europe, North Africa and the Middle East.
“He has been part of the supply team that has been working on how we distribute PPE.
“He has designed an e-portal in partnership with eBay which will in due course manage individual customers and he designed a bulk supply chain for the distribution of PPE to all of the NHS regions and trusts.”
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