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Covid-19: Government wasted millions on poor quality PPE, spending watchdog finds

BMJ 2021; 372 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.n399 (Published 10 February 2021) Cite this as: BMJ 2021;372:n399
  1. Clare Dyer
  1. The BMJ

The UK government wasted hundreds of millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money on poor quality and unusable personal protective equipment (PPE) while leaving frontline workers insufficiently protected from covid-19, the parliamentary public spending watchdog has concluded.1

In a hard hitting report the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee painted a picture of an emergency scramble for PPE in which government contacts were handed contracts through a special channel without tender. But the “inadequate” pandemic plan left frontline workers “risking their own lives to provide treatment and care,” the MPs’ report said.

The report highlighted “the appalling situation of staff having to care for people with covid-19 or suspected covid-19 without sufficient PPE to protect themselves from infection.”

The committee heard “compelling evidence from organisations representing frontline workers that stocks ran perilously low, single use items were reused, some was not …

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