Final month, amid dire warnings of shortages of non-public protecting gear for well being staff, ministers publicised the approaching arrival from Turkey of a fleet of RAF cargo planes bringing in a “very important” cargo of PPE for the NHS.
Greater than a fortnight later, it has emerged that each one of many 400,000 protecting robes that ultimately arrived has been impounded after being discovered to not conform to UK requirements.
The Division for Well being and Social Care confirmed on Wednesday night that the objects had been being held in a facility close to Heathrow airport. It’s understood that they’re resulting from be despatched again and that the DHSC intends to hunt a refund, because it has finished in related conditions prior to now.
The announcement of the cargo by the communities secretary, Robert Jenrick, on 18 April came as unions and professional bodies warned that NHS staff may refuse to work without PPE.
Jenrick informed the each day Downing Road press briefing that healthcare staff needs to be “assured that we’re doing all the things we will to right this difficulty”, saying they might have the gear they “want and deserve”.
Sources later told the Guardian that the DHSC had suggested No 10 to not enable Jenrick to publicise the cargo in case it backfired, however was overruled.
The mandatory clearances, it turned out, had not been sought. When the consignment did not arrive on time as promised, the delay prompted hospital leaders to directly attack the government for the primary time through the pandemic.
Ministers responded by saying they thought it could solely a one-day delay. Two days later, with the shipment only then beginning to clear Turkish customs checks, they had been solely capable of give an estimate of arrival “within the subsequent few days”.
The primary planeload of robes ultimately arrived on 22 April, however the subsequent day it was reported that “less than a 10th” of the order had arrived. Now all are anticipated to be returned.
The saga is certainly one of a collection of extremely publicised authorities coronavirus initiatives which have didn’t ship the promised outcomes. Its much-trumpeted “ventilator problem” requested corporations resembling Rolls-Royce and Dyson to start producing the machines, however none have reached the final stages of testing and the majority have proved surplus to requirements.
And ministers are dealing with questions over their testing technique after it emerged on Wednesday that regardless of briefly passing the 100,000 per day goal set for the top of April, utilizing a tally inflated by together with checks that had been despatched out however not accomplished, the government had since fallen short of the mark for a fourth day running.
In the previous few days, a British Medical Affiliation survey has revealed that nearly half of England’s medical doctors have sourced their very own PPE or relied on a donation when none was accessible via regular NHS channels.
A Division of Well being and Social Care spokesman mentioned: “This can be a world pandemic with many international locations procuring PPE, resulting in shortages around the globe, not simply the UK.
“We’re working night time and day to supply PPE internationally and domestically, and introduced collectively the NHS, trade and the armed forces to create a complete PPE distribution community to ship crucial provides to the frontline.
“All deliveries of PPE are checked to make sure the gear meets the security and high quality requirements our frontline employees want. If gear doesn’t meet our specs or cross our high quality assurance processes, it’s not distributed to the entrance line.”
— to www.theguardian.com