BBC Panorama investigation ‘raises questions’ for Welsh Government

Photo by Ashkan Forouzani on Unsplash

An opposition leader has called on the Welsh Government to reveal how much PPE it had in its stockpile prior to the Coronavirus.

The question was raised after a BBC Panorama programme aired last night revealed that the UK Government failed to buy crucial protective equipment to cope with a pandemic.

There were no gowns, visors, swabs or body bags in the government’s pandemic stockpile when Covid-19 reached the UK.

NHS staff say they are being put at risk because of the shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE).

Plaid Cymru Leader Adam Price said that the Welsh Government should now reveal how much PPE they had in their pandemic stockpile prior the Coronavirus crisis and whether they were prepared or not.

“The negligence of the Westminster government has been laid bare for all to see,” he said.

“They failed to prepare properly for an inevitable pandemic and this failure has put the lives of front line health and care workers needlessly at risk.

“Morriston hospital in Swansea was included in the BBC’s Panorama investigation as one of the hospitals who suffered due to a lack of PPE. In light of these revelations, the Welsh Government must urgently tell us how much PPE they had in their pandemic stockpile prior to the Coronavirus crisis. Were they at all prepared for the pandemic?

“And do they have enough PPE now to meet the demand and to protect our health and care staff?”

‘Sorry’

The investigation by BBC Panorama found that vital items were left out of the UK Government’s stockpile when it was set up in 2009 and that the government subsequently ignored a warning from its own advisers to buy missing equipment.

UK Government minister Victoria Atkins told BBC Breakfast she was “very, very sorry to hear” of the Panorama report.

“Like every other country in the world, [the virus] is unprecedented and the requirements for PPE have risen exponentially and we are doing our absolute best to address those needs and will continue to do so throughout this crisis,” she said.

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Michael McGrane
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Michael McGrane

A lot of the problems with PPE and other regularly used items has been the move to just-in-time deliveries which in the main are form outside the UK. Our production base has been sold off, some our energy and transport suppliers are managed outside the UK also; to me it is better to employ here and pay more, rather supporting the resultant displaced and unemployed with state benefits which come from our taxation anyway. Internal Supplies Departments should be taught to negotiate discounts for bulk orders, ie run like a proper business as this was not the case when I… Read more »

Peter Jones
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Peter Jones

It’s a national disgrace.
There are no excuses and it’s not as if nobody knew it was coming. If there was any justice – heads would roll – but that won’t bring anybody back. Corporate manslaughter charges might focus minds

Kerry Davies
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Kerry Davies

I am not sure but I think the clue here is “UK Government’s stockpile”. NHS Supplies used to be jointly owned by DHL but in about 2017 Jeremy Hunt decided to add another layer of management costing hundreds of millions but with a target of cutting £2.4Bn a year by 2023/24. This is Supply Chain Coordination Ltd wholly owned by the Secretary of State, now Matt Hancock. This company states; “We manage the sourcing, delivery and supply of health care and food products to the NHS and healthcare organisations in England and Wales.” … and Wales! What exactly they supply… Read more »