Birmingham Optical creates PPE calculator

The document has been designed to help practices plan out the quantity and type of personal protective equipment needed

Birmingham Optical
Birmingham Optical has created a personal protective equipment (PPE) calculator to help practices to navigate the “minefield of PPE” and understand what kinds, and how much, PPE their practice will require.

The company has produced a range of resources, include a table charting the recommended PPE for primary care optometry practices and when and where it should be used, as well as the free PPE calculator to help optometrists to work out the amount of equipment required for their practice.

In a statement shared by the company, Birmingham Optical’s director of medical and education, Jason Higginbotham, shared how the company has increased activity around sourcing and providing PPE and advice, adding: “To make this new landscape a little easier we have produced a calculator which will work out the amount of PPE you need bespoke to your practice(s) to ensure you have a complete start up kit of PPE.”

Speaking to OT, CEO Arran Fewkes, who created the calculator, said the resources were developed as a result of customer needs. He said customers had been asking the company: “To help them understand and cut through the minefield of PPE to give them clarity on exactly what product is required (as an absolute essential) and what product is a considered purchase.”

“In addition, once a customer knows what to order, they then wanted to know how many of each product to order – hence they wanted some guidance from our experience,” he added.

The calculator covers PPE such as masks, gloves, aprons and goggles, as well as hand sanitiser, surface wipes and clinical waste bags. The company suggests this tool could be useful for “anybody responsible for ensuring they have adequate PPE in an optical practice, irrespective of the number of test rooms.”

Since the resource was uploaded to the page on the website on 1 May, it has been visited nearly 3000 times.

Sharing how the company hopes this tool can support practices with the re-opening process, Mr Fewkes said: “It is one less thing for them to have to work through. It can also help to ensure they have sufficient weeks’ coverage and protect their cash outlay during these difficult times.”

While customers can reorder as required, the company has advised that lead times can be longer than usual and freight costs are high, recommending customers secure a “minimum four to six weeks on your first order.”

Pointing to the robust infection control procedures and use of PPE becoming necessary within optometry, Mr Higginbotham continued in his statement: “It is inevitable that things will never really go back to how they were before the Sars-CoV-2 virus began to infect people.

“To that end, Birmingham Optical are continuing to find innovative methods of assisting practices and clinicians to continue to offer their staff and patients a safe and effective working environment,” he added.