Dr Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the value of the role of local commercial laundries in cleaning contaminated bedding and other substantial soiled items from care homes; whether the coloured water-soluble bags needed to process soiled items safely have been designated under the category of PPE for essential laundry staff; and if he will urgently allocate resources to manufacturers of water-soluble laundry bags to meet the shortfall of availability to local commercial laundries serving care homes arising from the increased use of such bags by hospitals serving NHS patients. 
[Due for Answer on 27 April. Answered on 13 May.]
HOLDING ANSWER: The Department of Health and Social Care has indicated that it will not be possible to answer this question within the usual time period. An answer is being prepared and will be provided as soon as it is available.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Prevention, Public Health and Primary Care (Jo Churchill): The Government is not currently considering the wider use of local commercial laundries in regard to care homes. The Government has published guidance related to laundry in care homes which can be accessed at the following link:
Public Health England published a COVID-19 personal protective equipment (PPE) guide to those working in care homes on 17 April. This advises that suitable decontamination arrangements for some PPE items should be obtained from the manufacturer, supplier or local infection control. Public Health England’s publication can be found at the following link:
Water-soluble bags are not designated under PPE at this current time. A list of PPE recommendations for social care workers can be accessed at the following link: