Category Archives: Personal Protective Equipment

Government plans to burn unused & unusable PPE – destroying the evidence?

This image never gets tired: the kind of “PPE” initially used by UK NHS staff is shown at bottom right.

Do you think it’s an accident that the Tory government is planning to destroy billions of pounds worth of Personal Protective Equipment it bought during the Covid-19 crisis, that proved to be unusable?

Of £12 billion the Department of Health (DoH – perhaps to be pronounced “D’oh!” in resemblance of Homer Simpson’s catchprhase whenever he does something idiotic) spent on PPE during the crisis, £8.7 billion had to be written off, including £4 billion because the equipment, including masks and gowns, did not meet NHS standards, was defective or not needed.

This was the time of Matt Hancock’s “VIP lane” procurement system that prioritised Tory friends and donors with no experience of providing medical equipment over firms of seasoned professionals. 24 per cent of the PPE contracts awarded are now in dispute.

Not only that but, in defiance of the government’s own pandemic plan, Boris Johnson had allowed supplies of protective equipment to dwindle before the pandemic struck. It was supposed to be possible to replenish them with “just in time” supplier contracts, but Johnson waited until too late to call them in; the (mostly Chinese) suppliers were already swamped by demand from their own health service and elsewhere.

Worse, he actually sent 1,800 pairs of goggles and 43,000 disposable gloves, 194,000 sanitising wipes, 37,500 medical gowns and 2,500 face masks – 278,800 items in total – to China, five days before NHS chiefs warned a lack of PPE left the health service facing a “nightmare”.

And now the DoH is planning to burn public money – literally – by incinerating the unusable equipment in order to generate power. It has not explained what the environmental impact of this plan will be.

Doesn’t it seem that the Tories are trying to destroy the evidence of their Covid-19 PPE mismanagement, before an inquiry into it is launched?

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Tory dunce Williamson is latest MP accused of PPE corruption

Gavin Williamson: an artist’s impression of the suspect.

Gavin Williamson used to be Education Secretary before his many stupidities forced Boris Johnson to dump him onto the backbenches.

He had nothing to do with Covid-19 as part of his job.

So what possible reason could he have had for pushing Technicare onto the infamous ‘VIP lane’ for PPE contracts?

And – worse – why did current ministers at the Department for Health and Social Care leave his name off a list of ministers and MPs who referred companies to the VIP lane used to fast-track firms with links to ministers, MPs and officials?

His involvement was revealed after the government – quietly – updated its list to include Technicare, trading as Blyth Group Ltd – and revealed for the first time that Mr Williamson had referred them.

Does it seem to you that somebody in a high place was trying to pull the wool over our eyes – hide the ex-minister’s involvement in unlawful behaviour?

The Government’s use of the ‘VIP lane’ was ruled unlawful by the High Court last month, following a legal challenge brought by the Good Law Project and campaign group EveryDoctor.

If this stuff had been any good, it might not have been quite so bad. But…

At least 51 firms are understood to have been handed more than £4 billion worth of PPE contracts – all without competition – after being referred to the VIP lane.

DHSC documents show £673m worth of PPE purchased by the government – some of which was obtained through the VIP lane – was not suitable for use in health settings.

A further £750m worth of PPE and equipment was not used before its expiry date.

Williamson’s name joins those of Michael Gove, Matt Hancock and Grant Shapps among the 48 people or groups who referred companies to the fast track.

Some of the firms that won contracts and failed to fulfil them took cash from organisations with proven track records – thereby endangering citizens of the UK.

Because of that, these MPs should face a serious penalty for having used a secret system to boost amateurs over professionals.

But we live in the age of “one rule for us and no rule for them”. Will there be any justice at all?

Source: Gavin Williamson referred firm for £1.7m ‘VIP lane’ PPE deal, ministers admit – Mirror Online

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#Tory plans for #Covid19 have fallen into incoherence. Can anybody #makeitmakesense?

Boris Johnson says the UK’s position with regard to Covid-19 is “incomparably better” than it was this time last year.

I don’t get it, so I’m willing to bet that you don’t either.

Covid-19 infections in the UK have skyrocketed over the Christmas period – and that’s just those we know about!

At the time of writing, the number of new cases in England and Scotland stood at 157, 758 on January 3. Those for Wales and Northern Ireland were not included in the figures from Public Health England.

And there is a shortage of test kits, meaning the figures available to us are likely to represent only a fraction of the real total.

Only 42 deaths have been recorded. Again, these are likely to be a fraction of the real total, but the figure is one of the best This Writer has seen in months.

The number of hospitalisations is not listed on any of the press releases I’ve seen, but it likely to be around 9-10,000.  That’s about 50 per cent more than the previous week, indicating that while the Omicron variant may not kill people, it will certainly put them in hospital, tying up NHS resources.

The government’s response? Revive Nightingale hospitals.

That’s right. Apparently eight new Nightingales are being set up in car parks across the UK, aiming to provide 4,000 extra beds for Covid-19 patients.

Sadly, there are no extra NHS staff available to run these so-called hospitals. The NHS is overstretched, just staffing the genuine hospitals it has. Boris Johnson’s claim to be recruiting 50,000 new nurses had the same validity as most of his pronouncements (in other words, none at all) and Sajid Javid’s appeal for former healthcare professionals to help out has fallen on deaf ears.

It seems both men are hoping that nobody will realise that a tent in a car park without hospital staff isn’t a hospital; it’s just a tent – in a car park.

Heaven help you if you end up being sent there.

While all this was going on, the government assured everybody in England that it was perfectly safe to enjoy New Year parties – without any health protection measures at all. This was probably motivated by fear of being shamed again if evidence comes to light of more Downing Street parties at a time when people were not allowed to enjoy themselves, and hope that the inevitable increase in Covid cases comes as those with other causes start to tail off.

Oh, and the shortage of NHS staff is not being addressed at all. In fact, the Tories have refused to provide the FFP2 or FFP3 face masks that will protect them from being infected by their patients, meaning he is deliberately directing the NHS towards what could be its worst ever winter crisis.

Then there’s the question of schools.

The new term begins on January 4 (which could be today, depending on when you’re reading this), with only one health protection measure in place: secondary pupils must wear masks.

There is no plan to address the acute shortage of teachers caused by the government’s refusal to impose protections on their health after the Omicron variant arrived in the UK.

This means classes – and indeed entire schools – are likely to close this month.

Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi has told head teachers to consider merging classes (to ensure that pupils who may not be infected have a chance to catch Covid from those who are?) or sending groups of pupils home if staff absences reach critical levels.

This suggests that his own appeal for former teachers to volunteer to help has fallen on the same stony ground as his colleague Javid’s did within the NHS. And quite right, too – retired staff are in the Covid-19 danger zone and must consider their own safety first.

So government policy is another massive contradiction. Health protection measures are minimal and the assumption is that schools will stay open until closure is the only choice remaining to them – meaning they must become breeding grounds for the virus, once again.

Calls for better ventilation, filtration, and social distancing have been rejected by the government – possibly because acting on them would involve spending money, and the only spending the Tories plan to do on Covid-19 is wasting cash by handing it to their friends (no matter how amateur they may be).

Sadly we cannot expect opposition to any of these hare-brained policies from Keir Starmer’s Labour Party.

Starmer supported, to the hilt, everything Johnson has done – and failed to do – about Covid-19. That includes demanding that schools should stay open.

A U-turn now would leave him and his Tepid Tory party wide open to criticism from the real Tories.

Labour had the chance to demand school safety, support for the vulnerable, and help for businesses but squandered it. Now it is too late for Starmer to change.

Add it all up and it makes nonsense of Boris Johnson’s claim that the UK is in an “incomparably better” position than this time last year.

We are on the edge of a cliff and he is trying to push us over.

That’s unless you can make it make sense for the rest of us.

Social media comments on the information supporting this article – and more – are below:

The #ToryCorruption wagon doesn’t stop rolling just because #BorisJohnson is in trouble

Snout in the trough (all right – bucket): perhaps the Conservatives should rename themselves the Corruption Party?

There has always been more to Tory government corruption than Boris Johnson possibly going to parties.

Just trawling through Twitter yesterday I found more examples of the kind of behaviour that shows corruption is widespread in the Conservative government. It might be radiating outward from Johnson but that doesn’t mean it will go away if he does.

See for yourself:

The scandals won’t stop just because one UK constituency got rid of its Tory.

They all have to go.

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Bethell sacked – for destroying evidence in ‘government by personal email’ scandal?

Lord Bethell: he previously claimed he never used his private accounts for official business. Now he has been sacked by the Tory Government – as This Site suggested. Is he about to face court action too?

Before we start, it should be made clear that Boris Johnson has given no reason for sacking Lord Bethell as a health minister in his Cabinet reshuffle.

That being said, Bethell is a key figure in a major – ongoing – scandal in which government decisions may have been made using personal email and/or WhatsApp accounts in order to avoid public scrutiny.

Bethell had claimed that he never used his private email or telephone accounts for official business – but then replaced his mobile phone before it could be searched for information relevant to £85m of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) deals that are subject to a legal challenge.

The government is expected to disclose Bethell’s correspondence on those matters – by email, WhatsApp and SMS – as part of legal proceedings issued by the Good Law Project.

The Health Secretary has a responsibility to preserve and search documents for information relevant to the case from the point at which judicial review proceedings were issued in late 2020, under the government’s “duty of candour” – and the phone was replaced in early 2021.

The government has admitted it made no effort to issue Bethell with a preservation notice requiring him to save documents, claiming that ministers’ official correspondence was routinely saved as a matter of course. However, this did not cover government business conducted by private means.

It seems Bethell has not reactivated his WhatsApp, SMS and private email accounts from that phone, although there is nothing to stop him from doing so. Efforts are being made to recover information in those accounts from his mobile phone provider.

I wonder if those efforts have borne fruit and Bethell’s departure from government is happening ahead of more serious proceedings in the courts.

Whatever happens there, this development indicates that Boris Johnson’s government is not as immune to public scrutiny as he has previously tried to suggest.

The prime minister has often shrugged off criticism after serious complaints were made about his own misbehaviour and that of his ministers, but at least three of the worst offenders – Gavin Williamson, Robert Jenrick and now Bethell – have been ejected in the reshuffle.

Is Johnson going for plausible deniability – putting distance between himself and Bethell so he won’t be caught in the backlash if serious wrongdoing is exposed?

While people were dying of Covid-19, your government used the crisis to rip you off. Watch this film

Once more, with feeling (I’ve used this image many times): the PPE used in UK hospitals at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic is pictured bottom right. Instead of buying proper PPE from trusted providers, the Conservative government created a special back-channel to funnel cash to their cronies in return for faulty or unusable trash.

It’s less than seven minutes long and you need to know what it has to say.

The information in it is accurate – as far as it goes. This Site has published some of the facts before.

But this film, which was apparently projected against the walls of Parliament, puts it all in a nutshell.

Here it is:

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How will minister be punished for replacing phone before it could be searched?

Lord Bethell: he previously claimed he never used his private accounts for official business so we know he’s a liar. Shouldn’t he be sacked by the Tory government?

The answer is that Lord Bethell probably won’t be punished at all.

But if he were involved in a criminal investigation (and he might as well be – as the awarding of many deals for supply of Personal Protective Equipment to Tory chums and/or donors who were incapable of providing it seems extremely crooked) and he ditched the evidence, he would be charged with a crime.

Here are the facts:

Labour has called for an inquiry into the use of WhatsApp within the government, after it emerged a health minister replaced his mobile phone before it could be searched for information relevant to £85m of deals that are subject to a legal challenge.

James Bethell, who oversaw the award of Covid contracts, is one of those under scrutiny over the way deals for personal protective equipment (PPE) and tests were allocated at the height of the pandemic.

As part of legal proceedings issued by the Good Law Project, the government is expected to disclose Lord Bethell’s correspondence including by email, WhatsApp and SMS relating to the award of £85m of contracts for antibody tests to Abingdon Health.

The secretary of state has a responsibility to preserve and search documents for information relevant to the case from the point at which judicial review proceedings were issued in late 2020, under the government’s “duty of candour”.

However, a witness statement from a government lawyer revealed Bethell replaced his phone in early 2021 and it may no longer be possible to retrieve the information about his dealings with Abingdon, although efforts are being made to recover them from his mobile phone provider.

The statement said Bethell had used his official email account as well as his private email account to send and receive emails relevant to the contracts, and that he had also used his mobile phone for SMS and WhatsApp messages. But it said Bethell had confirmed that about six months ago his phone was broken and replaced and that his new phone did not contain the phone data.

Government lawyers revealed Bethell had not been issued with a “preservation notice” requiring him to save documents because ministers’ official correspondence was routinely saved as a matter of course. However, this did not cover government business conducted by private means.

What does he have to hide?

When they’re under an investigation with legal consequences, people with nothing to fear don’t destroy the evidence.

And Bethell must know that the information will be available by other means – although logically there shouldn’t be anything to stop him from reactivating his WhatsApp, SMS and private email accounts. Why hasn’t he done so?

The fact that government preservation notices don’t cover business conducted by private means, while government ministers are allowed to carry out government business in that way and are trusted to duplicate it into the public system, is a huge opening for corruption.

And it seems clear that this particular minister has exploited it.

Maybe I’m wrong – and I’ll be happy to apologise of Lord Bethell can provide clear proof that he was not responsible for any wrongdoing.

But I won’t hold my breath waiting for it.

Source: Covid contracts: minister replaced phone before it could be searched | Health policy | The Guardian

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Tory corruption: how many Covid-19 contracts went to party donors?

The image above tells a shameful story.

And it’s one the Tory government seems very keen to cover up.

Frances Stanley is said to have been handed a PPE contract worth £14.4 million of public money by the Tories after her husband donated £5,000 to Matt Hancock’s office.

She had no previous professional experience of providing such equipment and subsequently failed to fulfil the contract.

She handed back the government’s £7.2 million deposit – but the episode wasted valuable time when people were dying of a deadly disease for lack of protective equipment.

We don’t seem to know whether her application was handled on the so-called “fast lane” provided to Tory donors in order to help them jump the queue for these lucrative contracts.

But we do know that she is the wife of a Tory donor who received millions of pounds to provide a service she was unqualified to do, and whose failure is likely to have cost many lives.

And it is time we knew exactly how many of these duff contracts have been handed out.

We need a list of all contracts that have been handed to people connected to Tory donors, stating clearly whether these contracts were handed out via the “fast lane” system, how much money was handed over, and whether the contract was fulfilled.

Then we’ll be able to start working out the depth of corruption to which your government sank while your relatives and friends were dying.

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Would this firm have won PPE contract if it wasn’t represented by an ex-Tory advisor?

Buddies: Boris Johnson with Samir Jassal, the “seller’s authorised representative” who is also a former Tory councillor and Parliamentary candidate, and a former advisor to 10 Downing Street.

The strands of Tory corruption are converging in this revelation.

Details have – unintentionally – come to light of a contract granted to a firm after the Tory government bypassed the competitive tendering system, showing that it happened after lobbying by a former Conservative Parliamentary candidate with strong links to 10 Downing Street.

There are several elements of note here:

Firstly, these details would not have been available if the Good Law Project had not proven in court that Health Secretary Matt Hancock had broken the law by withholding details of contracts with private firms.

The contract had been signed in July last year, but details were not published until March – after Hancock lost the court case. Even then, the names of those involved were blacked out.

Information showing that former Tory councillor, Parliamentary candidate and Downing Street advisor Samir Jassal was the supplier’s “contact” only came to light via a second document in which his name was listed, apparently after the government had failed to black it out.

Secondly, this is further evidence of members of the Conservative Party lobbying the Conservative government on behalf of private business, and (apparently) being granted exclusive access, similar to the way David Cameron lobbied the government on behalf of Greensill Capital.

Thirdly, we should be asking how this company came to bid for a £102.6 million contract to provide PPE to the NHS. Did it use the exclusive contact system that had been devised for friends and donors to the Conservative Party – the so-called “high priority lane”?

The government has refused to say whether this contract was processed as part of this system, which tends to indicate that it was (if it wasn’t, there would be no incentive to deny it).

Fourthly, the firm, Pharmaceuticals Direct Ltd, had won a £28 million contract previously. How was that arranged? Was Mr Jassal involved? Did the firm use the “friends and donors” route then, as well?

Remember: both deals were awarded to the firm without any competition.

Finally: was the contract honoured? Contracts signed by the government with Tory friends and donors, especially in the early days of the crisis, had an appalling tendency to go unfulfilled because the firms had no experience in providing the equipment.

Admittedly, a firm called Pharmaceuticals Direct Ltd, which I understand was formed in 1999 to provide wholesale distribution of medical material, seems likely to be able to provide the contracted gear. But in the light of other revelations, we need to see proof.

Taken as a whole, this seems to be further proof that the Tories have corruptly – if not illegally – used a national emergency as a pretext for diverting public funds to their friends, donors and party members. Doesn’t it?

Source: Revealed: £102.6 million to ex-No10 advisor – Good Law Project

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Matt Hancock is gaslighting not only nurses, but ALL of us, over PPE

Smug little liar: when Matt Hancock opens his mouth to make a claim,experience shows it will probably be wrong.

Our nurses are right and Matt Hancock is a liar. He would resign if he had an ounce of integrity but of course he doesn’t, so he won’t.

He has said he would not resign after a High Court judge ruled he was responsible for unlawful delays in revealing how billions of pounds were spent on gowns, masks and other protective equipment at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.

He told Sky News’s Sophy Ridge: “My officials, with my full support, spent every waking hour buying PPE so that, even though we came close, we never actually ran out of PPE in this country.

“People can make up their own view about whether I should have told my team to stop buying PPE or whether I was right to buy the PPE and get it to the front line.

“And they did that even though the paperwork got delayed by, on average, just over a fortnight.”

Nurses don’t have to make up their own minds. They have the facts. They have experienced the deaths of their colleagues, who were exposed to Covid-19 needlessly because Hancock did not supply them with PPE.

In fact, as I stated earlier, not only did the Johnson government give away the PPE it had, it later wasted millions – if not billions – giving contracts to useless Tory cronies who either couldn’t supply the goods or provided equipment that could not be used.

That will be the buying that Hancock mentioned to Ms Ridge, then?

I also mentioned the fact that nurses caught the virus because they didn’t have proper PPE:

“According to Metro,

Three nurses who wore bin bags on their shifts due to a shortage in personal protective equipment (PPE) have reportedly tested positive for coronavirus.

Just weeks ago, the nurses had shared a photo of themselves with clinical waste bags on their heads and feet as they issued a plea for proper masks, gowns and gloves at Northwick Park Hospital, in Harrow.

“I wrote: ‘One of them had said they were all “terrified” that this might happen, knowing that colleagues had caught the disease from patients, and having treated those colleagues. They had seen what the illness does… We know what the government that failed them is going to give them: Platitudes.’

“How right I was.”

Now, responding to Hancock’s comments, community nurse Angela Roberts recalled the incident when she asked:

Why were nurses forced to use bloody bin bags? Out-of-date masks?

She continued:

Why was PPE downgraded for NHS staff?

‘Why was there no PPE for care homes and community nurses except for plastic pinnies?

And Anthony Johnson, lead organiser for Nurses United, said:

He thinks that he can try to gaslight millions of health and social care workers who had to re-use PPE.

If so, he thinks wrong.

But what difference will it make if there are no consequences for his actions?

Source: Hancock is gaslighting us over PPE, say nurses | Metro

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