Laura Sharman 08 July 2020

Government 'failed to prepare' on PPE, say MPs

The Government has failed to ensure there is enough personal protective equipment (PPE) in the event of a second wave of coronavirus, a watchdog has warned today.

In a damning report, the Public Accounts Committee said the Government is failing to tackle the shortage of PPE for clinical and care staff with 'sufficient urgency'.

It is calling for the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) to clarify its governance arrangements and explain how it will have an adequate supply of stock within the NHS and care sectors in the next two months.

Meg Hillier, chair of the Committee, said: ‘The Government conducted a large pandemic practice exercise in 2016 but failed to prepare. The previous Committee warned on the lack of plans to ensure access to medicines and equipment in the social care sector in the event of a no deal Brexit, but, again, the Government failed to prepare.

’There must be total focus now on where the problems were in procurement and supply in the first wave, and on eradicating them.’

The report also said the NHS now needs a coherent plan for how it will function after the peak of the COVID-19 crisis.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: 'We do not accept these claims. We have been working around the clock to deliver PPE to the frontline throughout this global pandemic, working with industry, the NHS and the armed forces to create a distribution network to supply over 58,000 settings.

'Two billion items of PPE have now been delivered and almost 28 billion items have been ordered from UK-based manufacturers and international partners to provide a continuous supply, which will meet the future needs of health and social care staff.'

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