Death Health Secretary is trying to rewrite history:
Health Secretary Matt Hancock shamelessly refuses to apologize, show any regret or remorse for breaking the law, says what he did was in national interest & tries to rewrite history saying because of what he did there was no national shortage at any point of PPE
— Peter Stefanovic (@PeterStefanovi2) February 23, 2021
Did you hear him?
One minute and 40 seconds in: “But there wasn’t a national shortage [of personal protective equipment – PPE] at any point.”
That is simply untrue.
Here he is in April last year, saying he’d love to wave a magic wand to resolve PPE shortages:
The delivery of desperately needed PPE from Turkey now expected today will only last about 3 days
UK missed three chances to join the EU scheme to bulk-buy PPE
No satisfactory explanation given by Government as to why it failed to take part in scheme pic.twitter.com/ZaPEducr8A
— Peter Stefanovic (@PeterStefanovi2) April 20, 2020
The Tory government of the day was told in 2016/17, after Operation Cygnus, 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.
This led to a situation in March 2020 when an NHS procurement chief, Alan Hoskins tweeted: “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.”
The tweet was subsequently deleted, possibly under duress as even then the Tory government was trying to hide the facts. As This Writer put it on April 3 last year: “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”.”
On April 17 I brought public attention to the plight of nurses who had been forced to wear bin bags instead of proper protection. 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.
On April 19 I quoted a Sunday Times piece on the Johnson government’s PPE failures that showed he had sent 278,800 items of protective kit to China in February – immediately before the UK had needed it:
Downing Street admitted on February 24 — just five days before NHS chiefs warned a lack of PPE left the health service facing a “nightmare” — that the UK government had supplied 1,800 pairs of goggles and 43,000 disposable gloves, 194,000 sanitising wipes, 37,500 medical gowns and 2,500 face masks to China.
Don’t worry – it seems we may be getting some of it back. It’s just that the government isn’t sure, having lost £15 billion worth of PPE, some of which it has bought (back?) from other countries including China:
The government is not sure where billions of pounds worth of personal protective equipment (PPE) is located, the head of the National Audit Office has disclosed.
Gareth Davies, the comptroller and auditor general, said outside consultants had been brought into Whitehall to find all equipment, which is stored at different sites around the country, or is in transit from abroad.
Under questioning from the public accounts committee, Davies said: “We have been working closely with the DoH. It has commissioned consultants to advise it on first of all understanding where all the PPE that has been bought actually is. It sounds like a strange question but it is a really big issue because it is not all standing neatly in an NHS store somewhere.
“We have amounts in containers, in storage around the country, there’s some on the docks and there is some en route somewhere from China.”
On April 18 last year, I quoted a Mirror report that
NHS doctors and nurses will be asked to treat patients infected with coronavirus without full-length gowns – or re-use the ones they have, it has emerged tonight.
The Government has been under fire for weeks over the distribution of personal protective equipment (PPE), with some frontline staff warning that they have had to work in situations where they feel unsafe.
Public Health England guidelines currently state that full-length waterproof surgical gowns should by worn by medical workers to stop Covid-19 spreading into someone’s mouth or nose.
However, there has now been a U-turn advising staff to wear a flimsy plastic apron when gowns run out or not wear one at all
And Matt Hancock has the cheek to tell us now that there was never a shortage.
Here’s a tweet about PPE availability in one hospital on April 19:
Well this is some gold dust…
A minister has tweeted the PPE stock levels and really importantly the daily usage rates of PPE at their local hospital trust in Lincolnshire – pointing out that such transparency helps confidence… pic.twitter.com/jTTpueK6Mg
— Faisal Islam (@faisalislam) April 19, 2020
The following day we learned a much-touted delivery of PPE from Turkey would last just three days. It had been previously reported that Boris Johnson had refused to join an EU scheme to provide PPE where it was needed (see the Peter Stefanovic tweet towards the top of this article).
On April 24 we found
The UK’s stockpile of personal protective equipment (PPE) for use in a pandemic… has been outsourced to a private company, Movianto, which was sold two weeks ago for $133m (£107m) by its owner, a large US healthcare group.
Two days later the Turkish shipment of PPE arrived – and proved to be just one-twelfth of the expected amount.
Later in the Covid crisis we learned that the Tories were using the emergency procurement system which bypasses the competitive tendering process and allows the government to purchase items and services direct from chosen firms, was being abused.
Tories were giving cash to their cronies in return for equipment that simply wasn’t fit to be used.
The classic example is that of Board of Trade president (and cheese queen) Liz Truss, who spent £150 million of your money on 50 million face masks for the NHS that couldn’t be used.
She had been approached for the contract by one of her long-standing friends and advisors, Andrew Mills. Oh, and apparently it was sourced through a tax haven so this guy can keep all the money.
Mills was subsequently removed from his advisory position. But Truss didn’t go anywhere.
Tory ministers “learned the lessons” from this mistake by handing a further £180 million to their cronies for PPE.
Did we get it? Doubtful.
All the way down the line the Tories have failed us.
They gave away our PPE when we needed it.
They failed to join an international scheme to provide it where it was needed.
They failed to source it themselves.
They gave money to their friends and cronies who had no experience in providing PPE, and received trash in return.
As a result, health service professionals caught Covid-19. Many of them died.
And Matt Hancock, who is on video record from last year, saying he wished he could wave a magic wand and eliminate the PPE shortage, is now telling us he shouldn’t have to resign for breaking the law by hiding contract details – because he made sure there was never a PPE shortage.
He is a LIAR.
He should resign NOW.
Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.
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