A massive £4 billion worth of PPE will be burned as it cannot be used.
Nurses and other health and care workers might not have died during the pandemic in the Government had purchased “decent-quality PPE”.
The head of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has condemned “the shameful waste of public money” to purchase substandard personal protective equipment (PPE) for frontline health and social care workers during the pandemic.
A House of Commons Public Accounts Committee report reveals that more than £4 billion worth of PPE is due to be burned as it cannot be used.
The spending watchdog says the equipment, such as masks, gowns and gloves, does not meet NHS standards, is defective, counterfeit, or is not needed.
The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) says they “make no apology for procuring too much PPE”.
Hundreds of nursing and healthcare staff died throughout the pandemic’s first year when most organisations struggled to source adequate PPE.
A painful reminder.
It was revealed at RCN Congress last week that the union has hired a team of legal experts to submit evidence in the Government’s inquiry into the pandemic.
RCN General Secretary & Chief Executive Pat Cullen said: “Members will find this galling. It’s a painful reminder of the worst of the pandemic – inadequate or wasteful PPE.
“Sending billions of pounds up in smoke when NHS and care services are struggling will be hard for them to comprehend.
“If this money had been used more wisely and decent-quality PPE bought in the first place, then the lives of nursing staff might have been saved.”
Ms Cullen added, “It will be critical, if we are to truly learn the lessons, for the forthcoming COVID-19 public inquiry to pin down causes and to say clearly where mistakes were made so they are never repeated.”
The union has also been critical of the environmental impact of producing then burning unusable PPE.