Category Archives: Personal Protective Equipment

Liz Truss, Ayanda Capital, and yet another PPE scandal from the illegal ‘VIP lane’

Backhander: I use this image for obvious reasons – see the story below.

Here’s Carol Vorderman:

She’s reminding us that your Tory government spaffed hundreds of millions of pounds on its very rich friends when it should have been safeguarding us all from Covid-19 – and the money has never been recovered.

Undoubtedly there will be more on this and other scandals as the information is prised from the unwilling grip of the Tories responsible.

Hundreds of doctors to sue NHS because government PPE failings gave them Long Covid

One MORE time: the PPE used in UK hospitals is pictured bottom right. Hundreds of doctors are now suing the UK government because they say they contracted Long Covid due to the inadequacy of the PPE they were provided.

In a sane country, wouldn’t this be enough reason for a government to take action to recover the millions (billions?) of pounds it wasted on useless Personal Protective Equipment during the Covid-19 crisis?

Hundreds of doctors plan to sue the NHS, claiming a lack of proper PPE left them disabled with Long Covid.

The case centres on an NHS diktat to downgrade the level of masks when the virus took hold. Staff were only required to wear blue surgical masks, plastic aprons and gloves.

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They claim they are facing financial ruin and that authorities should have known they were being placed at risk.

The government could recoup a huge amount of money, just by taking action to claw back the money wasted on inadequate PPE.

For example: what about the £203 million given to PPE Medpro, the company pushed through the illegal Tory VIP lane for contracts by Michelle Mone, who’s said to have profited by £65 million from the deal?

That could provide a million quid in compensation for more than 200 doctors with Long Covid.

And its just the tip of the VIP lane iceberg.

Why does the public purse always have to pay for the profligate failures of the government?

Source: Hundreds of doctors to sue NHS after lack of proper PPE left them disabled with Long Covid – Mirror Online


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Tories can’t prove £259 BILLION of public procurement was spent ‘wisely’

This is your money – squandered mostly on Covid-related contracts, from the look of it.

Here’s some detail:

The findings follow heavy criticism of government procurement particularly during the Covid pandemic, including the use of a VIP lane for potential suppliers of personal protective equipment who had links to politicians or government officials. A court ruled last year that the priority lane set up to collate PPE bids was unlawful because it failed to comply with public contract regulations.

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About those Covid contracts…


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Michelle Mone threatened to sue those who said she was lying. Now they’re suing back

Lady Mone: the accuser is now the accused.

Actions have consequences, as Michelle Mone is discovering.

While she was claiming innocence in the PPE MedPro scandal, she threatened court action against news publications that published stories about it.

Now she has admitted lying about her involvement, some of those media outlets are keen to recoup the money they had to spend defending themselves.

One of them is The New European – and the Good Law Project, a group of lawyers that has been researching the PPE procurement scandal in order to carry out court action of its own in the public interest, is going to help.

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Here’s what Good Law has to say:

We won’t let wealthy individuals with powerful connections silence media organisations and campaigners working to expose the truth. So we’re supporting The New European to launch a case against Michelle Mone early in the new year.

The newspaper has spent thousands of pounds defending itself against Mone’s legal threats, and we think there is a legal mechanism to recover those costs – where there is ‘deceit’.

And they’re not the only ones. Media outlets such as the Guardian, The Mirror, Byline Times, The National and Tortoise – as well as many other freelance reporters – have had to spend time and money dealing with defamation threats because of their reporting on PPE Medpro.

“The law must not allow itself to become a tool whereby those with money can bully and silence those with none,” said the Executive Director of Good Law Project, Jo Maugham. “We aim to create further jeopardy for those who engage in these kinds of egregious breaches.”

“Mone sought to pretend that the Lady M yacht had nothing to do with her,” said Matt Kelly, Editor in Chief of The New European. “That is a nonsense.”

“We were forced to spend several thousand pounds of costs in legal fees responding to her mendacious threats. We want our money back,” he added. “More than that, we want to establish a future deterrent against wealthy individuals willing to lie to stymie honest reporting. We look forward to seeing Mone in court in the new year.”

Source: We’re helping The New European sue Michelle Mone – Good Law Project


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Mone moans, Bethell contradicts; but where did he get his evidence?

Lord Bethell: he also previously claimed he never used his private accounts for official business so we know he’s a liar. Right?

After Michelle Mone admitted lying about her involvement with a £220 million contract for PPE that she arranged with the government via the illegal ‘VIP lane’ procurement system, Rishi Sunak spoke up – and opened his own can of worms.

All he did was say he couldn’t speak about the issue because it was under investigation, but that the government is taking it “incredibly seriously”.

But this seems to have triggered Lady Moan:

Later the same day, she posted the following on ‘X’:

The Good Law Project, which has been investigating the PPE procurement scandal in order to launch court proceedings of its own, chimed in with the factual information that was available to it as a result:

It seems clear that Sunak has his own questions to answer about profiteering from the Covid-19 crisis.

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But this is where the story becomes interesting: the next person to leap into the ring was Lord James Bethell – with information he had previously claimed not to have:

Former Labour spin doctor Alastair Campbell called it a “Christmas miracle” – but it’s the context note added by other ‘X’ users that is useful here:

The note reads: “Lord Bethell has previously had a government lawyer issue a witness statement that he had lost his phone in early 2021 and lost all access to SMS and WhatsApp messages prior to that date. The message he has posted is dated 20202.”

So he should not have it, and a government lawyer issued an official statement to that effect – perhaps one of the government lawyers currently working on the accusations against Mone.

Here are a couple more ‘X’ posts, providing evidence about Bethell and his trustworthiness – or lack of it:

People have raised an obvious question about all this – but in fact there are several, which may be divided into two sets:

1. It seems clear that Bethell has regained access to his WhatsApp messages from 2020. Is he passing the machine from which he retrieved them over to the Covid inquiry? If not, why not?

2. Who is on the government team investigating Mone? Were any of them involved in the defence of Bethell over his WhatsApps? Were any involved in the procurement of PPE from PPE Medpro or Mone’s dialogue with the government via the ‘VIP lane’? If so, are there not clear conflicts of interest? Should these matters be handed over to a completely separate set of legal experts?


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Mone admits profiting from PPE sale – and lying – but plays the victim. Narcissism?

Ill-gotten gains? Michelle Money posed on the deck of her husband’s £6 million yacht, ‘Lady M’ – which may have been bought with government money that was used during the Covid crisis to pay for PPE equipment – that didn’t work.

Let’s have a quick reminder of the Michelle Mone/Medpro PPE saga:

That clip was made a while ago. Ms (is she still a baroness?) Mone has since appeared in a BBC interview, in which she admitted lying to the press, and therefore the public, about her involvement with PPE Medpro and the Tory government’s ‘VIP lane’ fast-track procurement system.

Here‘s The Guardian:

Mone said she “wasn’t trying to pull the wool over anyone’s eyes” and had not told the truth about her involvement to protect her family from press attention. When it was put to her that she had admitted lying to the press, Mone replied: “That’s not a crime.”

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Maybe not, but she is facing a criminal investigation:

The National Crime Agency is conducting an investigation into alleged criminal offences in the procurement of the contracts by the company.

The couple [Mone and husband Doug Barrowman] were facing criminal allegations of conspiracy to defraud, fraud by false representation and bribery. They both deny wrongdoing.

They both deny wrongdoing.

We could discuss the strange deference of the BBC in sending a camera crew to whichever foreign country Mone is using as a hiding-place, just to get her side of the story.

But isn’t it far more interesting to discuss the mentality of a person who has admitted being involved in an illegal government procurement system, admitted profiting from it (if by proxy, according to her statement), but still insists that she has done nothing wrong?

Referring to the yacht, ‘Lady M’, that was allegedly bought with £6 million of PPE Medpro money that had come from the government, here’s what Mone had to offer:

Mone said: “It’s not my yacht. It’s not my money. I don’t have that money and my kids don’t have that money, and my children and family have gone through so much pain because of the media. They have not got £29m.”

Mone was pressed on why she did not mention PPE Medpro in her register of financial interests as a member of the House of Lords. She said the Cabinet Office had advised her that she did not need to.

It’s always somebody else’s fault. “So much pain because of the media.” “The Cabinet Office had advised her that she did not need to.”

Isn’t that the behaviour of a narcissist?

According to Simply Psychology,

A narcissist cannot accept being anything less than perfect. To continue living in their fantasy, they have to deny any shortcomings and wrongdoings. They do this by projecting any undesirable traits or behaviours onto other people – known as narcissistic projection.

So any wrongdoing is the fault of the Cabinet Office, or the media, or anybody else as long as it isn’t the fault of Michelle Mone.

One might suggest that this alone is enough to undermine her defence. Wouldn’t you?


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Is this why Michelle Mone is still free as a bird, despite her (alleged) PPE corruption?

Off the hook? Baroness Mone. One wonders whether she has darkened the doors of the House of Lords again, now Rishi Sunak appears to have cancelled any court action over the PPE procurement scandal involving her.

It seems that – under pressure from UK prime minister Rishi Sunak, whose government green-lit a torrent of corrupt PPE procurement deals during the Covid-19 crisis – judges in our courts have withdrawn permission to challenge PPE procurement deals on any level at all.

Despite the fact that enormous amounts of public money were handed over to friends and cronies of the Conservative government in return for nothing at all useful, these judges have said there is no public interest in how that public money is spent.

Jolyon Maugham of the Good Law Project, which brought judicial review cases on many of these PPE deals, has taken to ‘X’ (formerly Twitter) to explain what has happened:

The pages from Mr Maugham’s book carry two stand-out passages for This Writer. First is this:

“‘I have the greatest respect for our judiciary and the rule of law in this country,’ wrote Rishi Sunak, before proceeding to threaten a new measure ‘which he would activate in the event of judicial recidivism*’. You can threaten judges who find against you or you can claim respect for the rule of law, but you can’t do both.”

Then we have this: “Our senior judges are drawn from an incredibly narrow section of society. They are the overwhelming beneficiary of the status quo and, the statistics show, went to school and university with those in government whose acts they now judge. Taken as a class, their politics and social outlook are bound to align with those who hold political and cultural power.”

Put it all together and we may conclude that judicial reviews of PPE procurement processes were halted not just because judges were threatened with a loss of power, but because they didn’t want to find against their friends in government and business.

And that brings us to Michelle Mone, who recommended PPE Medpro to provide Personal Protective Equipment to the UK government during the Covid crisis?

It won a contract via the Tory government’s illegal “fast track” – and then failed to come up with the goods; the government said the equipment wasn’t up to scratch, although the firm reckoned it passed inspections.

Baroness Mone and her family allegedly made £65 million from Medpro’s profits. This Site heard about this scandal in November last year, and shortly afterwards, she took a leave of absence from the House of Lords.

Nothing was heard of her for months, and then she suddenly reappeared, being photographed at fashionable London locations:

Is this the reason? Was she tipped off that it was possible for her to return to the UK because Rishi Sunak had made sure she would be protected from any kind of punishment for her actions, and she would not have to return the millions she took from the public purse?

*Recidivism: “the tendency of convicted criminals to continue to offend”. So Sunak was comparing judges with criminals, despite the evidence that it was his government that had behaved illegally.

Matt Hancock trashes Tory Covid-19 policy at the Covid Inquiry

Matt Hancock: he was a Covid-19 super-spreader, if you remember.

Yesterday (Tuesday, June 27) was Matt Hancock’s big day at the Covid Inquiry – and he didn’t waste any words trashing Tory policy.

This Writer’s problem will be if there’s a discrepancy between what he’s saying now and what he did back then – spring 2020 onwards. I’m pretty sure there is, but let’s establish what he said first.

Oh dear! He fell at the first hurdle.

This Site has covered the matter of asymptomatic transmission – and especially how it related to care homes – extensively. You can get a flavour of it in this article about a leak of WhatsApp messages earlier this year – and it also contains many links to other articles on the subject.

Hancock also had a few things to say about care homes…

Here’s a biggie: BREXIT ENDED LIVES:

Oh hang on – Hancock reckons some of the Brexit preparedness stuff would have helped with Covid-19, too…

 

For the rest, I’m going to rely on a lot of information from Robert Peston, who was live-tweeting while Hancock was giving his testimony. It runs as follows:

Let’s have a response from people who lost family members because of the government’s Covid-19 failures:

For the moment, I’m presenting this evidence as it is. Feel free to draw your own conclusions about it. I’ll want some time to look into the implications.

It seems certain the inquiry will turn up more – and possibly even more damning – evidence as it continues.

Why has no progress been made on the Michelle Mone/PPE Medpro scandal?

Accused: Lady Mone.

Is it really a year since Michelle Mone was first investigated over her connection with PPE Medpro, the company she recommended to provide Personal Protective Equipment to the UK government during the Covid crisis, that then failed to come up with the goods?

The government said the equipment wasn’t up to scratch, although the firm reckoned it passed inspections. Baroness Mone and her family allegedly made £65 million from Medpro’s profits after she pushed it up the illegal “VIP lane” by which Tories could recommend their friends for public cash.

This Site heard about this scandal in November last year, and shortly afterwards, Mone took a leave of absence from the House of Lords.

As far as I know, she’s still away. Has anybody heard of her since?

And, is this the reason there has been no progress on this case – that the woman at the heart of it has disappeared?

Is Michelle Mone the new Lord Lucan?


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Here’s why it is Tory waste – NOT nurses’ strikes – that is harming NHS health care

Tory wasters: Rishi Sunak and Steve Barclay have wasted billions of pounds that could have paid for much more than the pay rises demanded by doctors, nurses and ambulance crews. If they withheld it because they’re trying to steer us towards privatisation, they have failed.

The Conservatives have been paying billions of pounds to private health-related companies for services that have not been provided – while accusing striking doctors, nurses and ambulance staff of jeopardising patient care.

Exhibit A:

From the article:

Experts say the figure is just scratching the surface, with NHS bosses in England having been given the green light to spend up to £10bn on private health companies as part of the government’s plan to reduce the record number of patients waiting for care.

The biggest beneficiary of the outsourcing has been the Australian healthcare multinational Ramsay, which received £134m to offer non-emergency care to NHS patients between 2021 and 2022.

Spire Healthcare, which operates 38 private hospitals formerly owned by Bupa, has been handed a further £108m over the same period. Circle, which is owned by Centene, one of the biggest US healthcare corporations, was paid £50m.

A further 30 private companies, which also include the Nuffield Trust and Specsavers, have been paid £195m in total as part of a contract aimed at boosting the number of patients the NHS treats in England between 2021 and 2022.

The data was obtained by openDemocracy through a Freedom of Information request to all 42 NHS Integrated Care Boards, which are responsible for spending and managing NHS budgets regionally in England. Only 23 responded to openDemocracy’s request, meaning the total cost could be significantly higher.

But the number of patients being treated has not recovered even to pre-Covid-19 levels:

Between January and November 2022, the NHS treated 6.6% fewer patients from elective care waiting lists than it did over the same period in 2019, according to an analysis by the Institute of Fiscal Studies.

The think tank said in February that the NHS was “clearly lagging” behind its target to increase the number of people it is treating to around 30% above pre-pandemic levels by 2024/25.

Exhibit B:

From the article:

The department spent £8.9bn during 2020-21 and another £6bn last year on such supplies, including masks and gowns for NHS staff that have proved unuseable and are now being burned.

The sums were revealed in the Department of Health and Social Care’s (DHSC) annual accounts and report for 2021-22, published on Thursday, and highlighted in a highly critical assessment issued by the National Audit Office (NAO).

The DHSC’s report also disclosed that it expects to spend £319m storing and disposing of PPE which is no longer needed and is of such poor quality that it is no use to frontline staff anyway.

In March last year it was still spending £24m a month storing the infection-preventing equipment, the NAO said.

On the subject of storage, there’s this:

Exhibit C:

From the article:

i analysis of figures provided by NHS bodies showed that strikes by junior doctors, nurses, ambulance and other health workers have already led to 665,000 cancelled appointments or operations.

NHS Providers in March said 140,000 appointments were postponed due to nurses and ambulance workers walking out between December and mid-March.

NHS England said the first junior doctors strike last month caused the cancellation of 175,000 operations and appointments.

Up to 350,000 appointments could have been cancelled during the unprecedented four-day junior doctors walkout last week, the NHS Confederation estimated.

Separately, NHS England analysis said the first nurse walkouts on 15 and 20 December caused the cancellation of almost 30,000 operations and appointments.

This is not justification for government investment in the private sector, though. Quite the opposite.

Let’s go back to that Open Democracy article for a moment:

Junior doctors are asking for a 35% pay rise to reverse 15 years of below-inflation wage increases.

The BMA calculates that the net cost of the pay rise for the government would be £1.03bn – a tenth of the potential spending on private healthcare companies. Even the £500m spent last year could have funded an 8% uplift in junior doctor wages for the year in question.

Add nurses and ambulance staff to the calculation and bringing their pay up to parity with 2008 or 2010 levels would still cost a fraction of what Rishi Sunak and his government have wasted – let’s be clear on that: wasted – on private health firms that simply do not help.

Exhibit D:

The Tories don’t want to go into talks with preconditions, and won’t talk if strike action is likely. In other words, the only talks they want are if they tell the nurses (and other NHS staff) what they have to take. No union representative will accept those – let’s face it – preconditions. In any case, it is hypocritical of the Tory government to demand preconditions while condemning nurses for having any of their own.

Exhibit E:

From the article:

From a peak of 70 per cent in 2010, overall satisfaction with the NHS has fallen to just 29 per cent – the lowest figure recorded since this question was first asked in 1983. Satisfaction with individual NHS services is at record lows across the board, while satisfaction with social care is the lowest of all with only 14 per cent of the public saying they are satisfied with it.

Yet none of this translates into any appetite for user charging or a different funding model, the first options that some commentators flailing around for a magical solution tend to clutch at. The public’s aspirations seem straightforward: they simply want an NHS that does what it says on the tin and that works. They were highly satisfied with a system that provided this as recently as 12 years ago, and they do not accept that this is too much to ask.

This may come as a huge disappointment to leading Tories, who are generally believed to have spent the last 13 years de-funding the NHS in order to stop it working properly, in the belief that public opinion would swing behind changing to a US-style, insurance-based, privately-run health system.

So what can be done?

Exhibit F:

The article suggests that £30 billion would be needed to support the kind of pay deals NHS workers need. From the Open Democracy article, this seems a lot more than necessary – but let’s consider the options it presents anyway:

Earlier this year I noted the suggestion that £30 billion was required to fund appropriate NHS pay deals and wrote a proposal to address the need to finance this, including the possibility that it simply be added to the deficit, which is wholly plausible. As I suggestsed then… this funding could be addressed as follows:

1) £10 billion could come from the additional taxes paid by those lured back to the NHS by better working conditions and higher pay, and by those lured back having given up on work altogether. The impact of the extra NHS spending on growth elsewhere in the economy is also taken into account in this estimate.

2) At least £5 billion might be raised from taxes paid by those able to return to the workforce either because their own conditions will be sufficiently well managed to allow this or because those that they care for will enjoy better health, letting them return to work.

So, at least half of the funding required will be directly generated from the benefits created by that additional spending. Options for the remaining £15 billion include:

3) A government could simply decide to run a bigger deficit to fund the £15 billion requirement. The impact on the national debt is insignificant.

4) The Bank of England currently has a programme of selling the government debt it owns bought under the quantitative easing programmes that paid for the banking crises of 2008/9, the Brexit crisis of 2016 and the Covid crisis of 2020/21. If £15bn of this programme was cancelled each year and bonds to fund the NHS were sold instead the funding to deliver the healthcare we need could be found. In this case, there would be no net impact on the national debt owned by third parties.

5) National Savings and Investments could issue NHS Bonds in ISA accounts to provide the funding. £70 billion is saved in ISAs each year. Properly marketed, it would be easy to find £15 billion a year this way.

6) Halving the tax reliefs on savings available to the wealthiest 10% of people in the UK each year. At present it is likely that this group enjoy at least £30 billion of pension and ISA tax reliefs each year.

7) Since the Public Accounts Committee of the House of Commons has found that for every £1 spent on tax investigations £18 of additional tax is raised, investing £1 billion in additional funding with HM Revenue & Customs might be enough to recover the funds required for the NHS each year.

8) The rate of capital gains tax in the UK is currently set at half the rate of income tax in most cases. If it was set at the same rate as the income tax rate then the revenue from this tax might double, raising £15 billion a year.

Judging by all this evidence, one is left with the inescapable conclusion that the Tory government has wasted huge amounts of money that could have been used to support real investment in the National Health Service, and is claiming there is no money available now.

But in fact there are many options available to it; ministers are simply refusing to consider them.

So the NHS crisis that has led to the strikes by doctors, nurses and ambulance teams was caused by the Tory government, and the Tories are deliberately withholding the cash necessary to restore the system.

It is Tory waste that has caused the problem; the strikers are simply doing the only thing they can do to raise awareness of it.