‘We did not have a national shortage of PPE’, says Hancock

Half of healthcare workers says they were given PPE that was inappropriate or inadequate.

James McKay
21 February 2021
Matt Hancock

Mr Hancock has rejected claims of a national shortage of personal protective equipment.

The Health Secretary has angered health and social care workers by rubbishing claims of a national shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) during the first wave of the pandemic.


In an interview with Andrew Marr today Health Secretary Matt Hanock said that his team was spending “7 days a week, often 18 hours a day getting hold of the equipment that was saving lives” insisting on three occasions that the UK “didn’t have a national shortage of PPE”.

A NursingNotes survey of healthcare workers following the first wave of the pandemic showed that over half of workers (52%) had been given PPE they felt was inappropriate or inadequate, a third had been told to re-use single-use PPE, and a fifth has been given PPE that had already expired.

With the vast majority of nursing staff caring for COVID-19 patients wearing nothing more than a standard surgical mask, gloves, and a thin plastic apron, Mr. Hancock’s claims come only days after healthcare leaders wrote to the Prime Minister again calling for improved PPE.

Across the UK, at least 930 health and care workers to date have died and many more are suffering from long-term adverse effects of COVID-19.


Nurses United UK, a grassroots campaigning group that have been calling for improved PPE for frontline health and social care workers since March, has accused Mr. Hancock of “gaslighting” workers.

Anthony Johnson, lead organisor for the group, said; “I think that this just shows why Matt Hancock was recently found guilty by a court of law.

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

“Tens of thousands have ended up sick with over 800 individuals, unfortunately, losing their lives.


“This situation didn’t have to happen and I am sure frontline workers will be outraged that this Government decided that our lives weren’t worth their donor’s and friend’s profit margins.

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