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Why is the government dragging its feet so badly on the provision of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) to NHS workers? Do the Tories have some psychotic desire to watch us all die of the coronavirus?

This is a government that was told – years ago – that the UK’s health service would be unable to cope with a pandemic virus infection without plentiful supplies of protective equipment for health workers… and decided that such an investment was too expensive.

And now:

Also:

NHS workers are crying out for proper equipment because the lack of it is putting them in danger – and if they’ve got the virus themselves, they can’t treat anybody. Consider this:

Doctors and nurses can’t have the equipment because it simply isn’t there:

The NHS procurement chief mentioned above was Alan Hoskins, whose tweet on Sunday, which has since been deleted, said: “What a day, no gowns NHS Supply Chain. Rang every number escalated to NHS England, just got message back — no stock, can’t help, can send you a PPE pack. Losing the will to live, god help us all.”

It’s possible that the tweet was deleted under duress, as it seems doctors have been warned not to make any comments about shortages on social media, as well as avoiding talking to journalists, and NHS England has taken over media operations for many hospitals and health trusts in order to ensure that they all stay “on message”.

Some doctors claimed managers had threatened their careers if they breathed a word of how bad the situation really was:

This part is grimly amusing: “NHS England confirmed it was controlling media communications, which it said was part of its national emergency incident planning to ensure the public received “clear and consistent information”. Notice that nothing is said about that information being factually accurate!

But why aren’t NHS workers getting the protective equipment they need?

It’s a good question, considering the manufacturers have been desperate to provide it, but haven’t been able to even start making them until the government put in an order – and the government did nothing but stall for a prolonged period of time:

Fashion and textile firms said they could have begun making gowns and masks for frontline workers on March 19.

The government, meanwhile, has been insisting that everything is all right – creating something of a credibility gap:

Trade group Make It British said factories had been receiving calls from individual hospitals, begging them to send anything they could provide.

A spokesperson said she believes the government does not have the expertise it needs to source the products from UK firms because it is so used to importing goods from overseas.

So This Writer would suggest that the government has been hiding the fact in order to prevent embarrassment for ministers.

And that leads me to the big question:

Which is more important – saving lives or saving Tory ministers’ blushes?

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