British PPE Supplier Tried To Help NHS But Faced Weeks Of Red Tape
A British supplier of protective health equipment was forced to sell millions of life- saving items overseas after attempts to equip the NHS were met with an ‘impenetrable wall of bureaucracy'.
The company said Britain's procurement system was ‘unresponsive at best or incompetent at worst' and delays were putting lives at risk.
The embarrassing revelations will raise questions about why the Government did not replenish PPE stockpiles and build up more supplies in March as the country entered the crisis.
Ambulance workers are seen putting on PPE outside a hospital in the capital. A fashion boss who turned his high-end ladieswear factory into a scrubs production line says red tape and bureaucracy in the NHS supply chain is putting frontline workers at risk
Amid growing frustration, the Government said it had deployed ‘every resource' to get its hands on desperately needed PPE supplies and ventilators in recent months.
But the supplier trying to sell millions of masks, gowns and aprons yesterday said it had spent ‘five weeks hammering at the Government's door' without response.
Michelle van Vuuren, who runs a London-based property company, turned her business into a PPE distributor working with Chinese suppliers last month as the virus began to spread around the world.
After failed attempts to contact NHS procurement services, Miss van Vuuren contacted Health Secretary Matt Hancock's office on March 20.
She was subsequently passed to the Cabinet Office but her inquiries went ‘into a vacuum' and Aiim Actual exam preparation were met with only an automated response.
Amid growing frustration, the Government said it had deployed ‘every resource' to get its hands on desperately needed PPE supplies and ventilators in recent months. NHS staff are pictured carrying out coronavirus tests in Lincoln
Miss Van Vuuren went on to broker the sale of items to authorities in the US, Europe and the Middle East, leading her to accuse the UK of ‘bureaucratic ineptitude and scandalous incompetence'.
She said: ‘The Department of Health is crippled by inefficiency, mixed messages and a chronic inability to make decisions or payments.'
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson acknowledged on Sunday that some suppliers may have ‘slipped through the net' after getting in touch with the Government.