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UK Government ‘telling companies not to send PPE to Wales and Scotland’

14 Apr 2020 4 minutes Read
Picture by DFID – UK Department for International Development. (CC BY 2.0)

The UK Government has been telling companies supplying personal protective equipment not to send the stock to Wales and Scotland, according to claims in a Scottish newspaper.

The National newspaper refers to a statement on the website of one of the main PPE suppliers which says that they are only distributing a product to England.

“You must be registered and operating within England – apologies to Wales and Scotland, we are told you have different processes for getting emergency supplies,” the message reads.

The company, Gompels HealthCare, which makes gloves, gowns and face masks, is one of the larger companies supplying PPE in the UK.

The UK Department of Health and Social Care said that supplies were being co-ordinated at a UK level.

The message on Gompels’ website

Care homes in both Wales and Scotland have had trouble sourcing PPE after companies decided to sell to England only.

Last week a care home owner in Wales says she has been refused PPE by Gompels because her suppliers are reserving stock for English customers.

Ceri Roberts, who runs two care homes in Porthmadog and Criccieth in Gwynedd, said two suppliers had declined to sell to her when she tried to buy aprons and gloves for her staff.

She said that she was told by one supplier told her it was selling stock “on behalf of Public Health England”.

Public Health England is an executive agency sponsored by the UK Government’s Department of Health and Social Care.

Gompels Health Care, told her: “We notice that your order includes products which we are selling on behalf of Public Health England, and we can only deliver these products for people who operate in England. Different schemes exist for Scotland and Wales.”

 

‘Difficult’

Dr Donald Macaskill, chief executive of care home sector body Scottish Care, told the National newspaper he suspected the direction not to sell to Wales and Scotland had come from Public Health England.

“I suspect it came from Public Health England as the post on the Gompels website said.” He went on: “Internationally we have also seen evidence of it becoming extremely difficult to buy from suppliers, because of the same issue of nations wanting to prioritise their own supply.”

Macaskill told the National a number of companies have been in contact with him to say they would only supply PPE to England.

The Department of Health and Social Care told the Times newspaper that it was working “closely with the devolved administrations” to ensure there is enough PPE to meet clinical need and that supply routes have been set up within each nation to provide equipment to the front line.

It said: “PPE supplies are being co-ordinated at a UK-wide level and allocation made based on clinical need across the whole country.”

The Scottish government said: “It would be totally unacceptable if PPE equipment needed in Scotland was diverted, intercepted or sent elsewhere in the UK. We have no knowledge of this and are checking urgently to establish if this has happened.

“Scotland’s social care workforce is on the front line of our national pandemic response. Their work is always hugely valued, and never more so than now.

“The safety of the workforce is an absolute priority, and we are continuously looking to improve the distribution of the protective equipment that is so vital in the fight against Covid-19.”

‘Sufficient’

Yesterday the general secretary of the Wales TUC said that they were hearing “horror stories” over a lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) for NHS staff dealing with coronavirus.

Shavanah Taj told the BBC: “We’re getting some real horror stories now, in terms of front-line NHS workers and social care workers fighting coronavirus.”

However, Dr Stuart Walker, executive medical director for the Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, said hospitals had enough PPE.

“My understanding, after spending time on the wards myself, is that the right level of PPE is available,” he said.

A Welsh Government spokesman said: “We’re working very hard to make sure all our front-line NHS and social care staff have the protection and support they need to undertake their vital roles, this includes working with trade unions, health bodies, regulators and local government.

“So far, we’ve distributed more than 10.4 million items of PPE from our pandemic stocks, over and above our usual supply. We are working with the rest of the UK to ensure there is sufficient supply of PPE and we’re working with Welsh businesses to produce PPE in Wales.”

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Tudor Rees
Tudor Rees
1 year ago

Given the semi-colonial situation that we voted for in Wales, it comes as no surprise that England is given priority in the supply of protective equipment for health and care staff. It will always be “Home Country first”. [see also the electrification of the railway to Swansea, and Westminster/Whitehall decisions to curb the development of Cardiff Airport.]

John Ellis
John Ellis
1 year ago
Reply to  Tudor Rees

I suspect that the conflict of interest inherent in the fact that the Westminster government is also the English government underlies this problem. Manufacturers, for normal commercial reasons, will tend to prioritize the interests of the potential customer who looks likely to offer them the biggest order, and given the disparity of population within the UK that’s always going to be England. Add to that the fact that much of the UK – in England probably the vast majority, including business – hasn’t really got its head round the implications of devolution, and you get a situation in which firms… Read more »

j humphrys
j humphrys
1 year ago
Reply to  Tudor Rees

…….. semi ?

Huw Prys Jones
Huw Prys Jones
1 year ago

What is equally bad is that the UK government turned down three opportunities to be part of a PPE bulk-buying scheme. Healthcare workers are paying with their lives for such a perverse ideology. It clearly shows that Brexit is far more important than the life of healthcare workers for scum like Dominic Cummins who are pulling the strings in this government.

Anne
Anne
1 year ago

Disgusting. A national crisis and Gompels are helping to spread the virus by not helping health authorities regardless of where they are in the UK. They have a lot to answer for.

j humphrys
j humphrys
1 year ago

Welsh Gov: “We are working with the rest of the uk”.
UK (England ) Gov. ” I’m alright, Jack, err Taff”.

Rhosddu
Rhosddu
1 year ago
Reply to  j humphrys

a.k.a. “I’m alright, Jock”.

Annwen
Annwen
1 year ago

Perhaps we should stop sending them our water

Dewi ap Dafydd
Dewi ap Dafydd
1 year ago

If you reframe the headline to “English Government Department instructs Company registered in England to prioritise English customers”, you see where the problem lies. The Welsh Government has not been sufficiently sourcing locally since its inception, therefore there are no local suppliers. Instead of being up in arms about Gompels or Roche, we should be demanding that the Welsh government finally supports Welsh businesses and developing the Welsh economy. Wales needs a) political parties registered in Wales who b) source goods and services from locally registered companies, and thus c) support the economy and climate.

Leigh Richards
Leigh Richards
1 year ago

So much for the UK being a ‘family of Nations’

Andrew John Teague
Andrew John Teague
1 year ago

Time to secede in this hour of need!

K. K
K. K
1 year ago

I can see why Westminster would do what they have done but if the shoe was on the other foot all hell would break loose with the London based media. I don’t think it’s right but given that some of these care homes are loyal customers I think it’s even worse that we’re expected to sacrifice our own people because the privileged elite have been caught with their pants down. On another note however I can only salute the brilliance of those health professionals in Wales who care after our sick and also for the innovative ways in which they… Read more »

j humphrys
j humphrys
1 year ago
Reply to  K. K

Yes!

If this is true they are the same as Trump .
If this is true they are the same as Trump .
1 year ago

7

Penderyn
Penderyn
1 year ago

“nation” / “country” / “national” …. all these terms are getting utterly confusing now…..do they mean Cymru/Wales? England? or the UK state plc?

Rhosddu
Rhosddu
1 year ago
Reply to  Penderyn

I use ‘state-wide’ for ‘nationwide’ or ‘national, when referring to the UK, and I commend it to other people’s use. The UK, of course, is a state comprising four nations (five if you’re Cornish).

Jason Evans
Jason Evans
1 year ago

I’ve had to stop myself from opening this comment with “What the f$%#”. When are we, all the people of Cymru/Wales (from those people born here, to those who’ve made Cymru/Wales their home) going to realise that the union does not work for our country ! How can any one possibly defend the action of the UK Government ? Isn’t it blatantly obvious that a vote for any of the parties of the union is a vote to make the people of Cymru/Wales not only worse off (which has always been the case) but now it there for all of… Read more »

Spencer G Sinclair
Spencer G Sinclair
1 year ago

Lot of rubbish

Spencer G Sinclair
Spencer G Sinclair
1 year ago

That’s a lot of rubbish

Leigh Richards
Leigh Richards
1 year ago
Hu Jason
Hu Jason
1 year ago

Daddy’s choice of face masks KN95 has been officially approved by the FDA and CDC for imports in the United States and is at the same level as 3M, Shanghai Dasheng and BYD! According to the latest FDA policy, it currently recognizes Chinese standard masks when certain conditions are met. As of April 11, there are 32 manufacturers that have received official FDA authorization to recognize non-NIOSH certified masks produced in China. Our Kn95 is on US FDA EUA list, means that it’s the one of the officially autherized factories manufacturing KN95. We also can supply to you 3m K95… Read more »

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