The British government wasted most of the money spent on protective equipment during the first year of the pandemic, a report says
FILE PHOTO. © Getty Images / Hugh Hastings
The UK government accumulated Covid-19 personal protection equipment (PPE) worth a whopping £4 billion ($4.94 billion) that is deemed unusable and needs to be disposed of, Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee said in a report published on Friday. The Cabinet now plans to literally burn most of it, the report adds.
The government says the equipment will be burned to “generate power,” but the committee has criticized the approach, saying London has no “clear disposal strategy,” and the “cost-effectiveness and environmental impact” of the method raises concerns. The PPE cannot be used in the National Health Service due to its substandard quality, which does not meet the requirements set out for British healthcare facilities, the committee notes.
The issue is the result of a bigger blunder on the part of the UK Department for Health & Social Care (DHSC) the report says, adding that it lost 75% of £12 billion ($14.81 billion) spent on PPE in the first year of the Covid-19 pandemic to “inflated prices and kit that did not meet requirements.”
The figures correlate to those presented in the Annual Report and Accounts presented by the DHSC in early February. The loss was equivalent to 5% of the Health Department’s entire annual budget, it was said at that time.