Fifty million face masks purchased by the federal government in April is not going to be used within the NHS due to security considerations.
The federal government says the masks, which use ear-loop fastenings fairly than head loops, might not match tightly sufficient.
They had been purchased for healthcare employees from provider Ayanda Capital as a part of a £252m contract.
Ayanda says the masks met the specs the federal government had set out. The federal government says its security requirements course of is “sturdy”.
It has emerged that the one who initially approached the federal government concerning the deal was a authorities commerce adviser who additionally advises the board of Ayanda.
However he advised the BBC his place performed no half within the awarding of the contract.
Calling for a Nationwide Audit Workplace investigation into the federal government’s “mishandling of PPE procurement”, Labour MP Rachel Reeves stated: “The most recent PPE scandal can’t be swept beneath the carpet.”
Within the early weeks of the pandemic the NHS skilled extreme shortages of private protecting tools (PPE).
The federal government says it needed to discover new suppliers shortly to fulfill demand and to compete with rising international competitors.
On 29 April the Division of Well being and Social Care signed the £252m contract with Ayanda Capital Restricted to produce two varieties of face masks.
The costliest a part of the order consisted of 50 million FFP2 respirator masks, that are designed to guard healthcare employees from inhaling dangerous particles.
In response to authorized papers seen by the BBC, the federal government says these masks will not be used within the NHS due to a security problem.
The doc says that there’s concern about whether or not they would match adequately.
To be efficient these kind of face masks want to suit tightly to create a seal between the masks and the wearer’s face.
Anybody who wears them for work is required to bear a face match check.
“The face match is both a go or a fail and there are extra fails on merchandise with ear loops than there are on merchandise with head harnesses,” says Alan Murray, chief govt of the British Security Trade Federation.
“That signifies that it would not essentially present the safety that was required from it.”
It’s not clear what’s going to occur now to the 50 million masks.
Ayanda Capital additionally equipped 150 million Kind IIR masks, which the federal government says are unaffected.
Most have now been delivered however they haven’t but been launched to be used within the NHS and are awaiting additional testing.
‘Staggering’ quantities spent
The knowledge was disclosed in a authorized response to the Good Legislation Mission, which is searching for to problem the federal government within the courts over three PPE contracts it awarded, together with Ayanda Capital’s.
The marketing campaign group argues the federal government’s awarding of contracts on to corporations through the pandemic, fairly than opening them to competitors, might have been illegal.
“It is taken this extraordinary sum of public funds and wasted it on PPE that it itself says can’t be launched to be used within the NHS as a result of it is not secure,” stated Jolyon Maugham, the Good Legislation Mission’s director.
“We do suppose that it is necessary that the court docket check out these contracts, that it declare them to be illegal and that there be full transparency of how these staggering quantities of public cash have been spent.”
The federal government has additionally disclosed that the unique method to promote the masks got here not from Ayanda Capital however from a businessman known as Andrew Mills.
His firm, Prospermill, had secured the rights to the complete manufacturing capability of a giant manufacturing unit in China to provide masks and was in a position to provide a big amount nearly instantly.
However the authorized doc seen by the BBC notes that Mr Mills requested the federal government as an alternative signal the contract for the masks with Ayanda Capital, whose board he advises, as a result of it might organize abroad fee extra shortly.
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Mr Mills can be an adviser to the UK Board of Commerce.
He advised the BBC his place performed no half within the award of the contract, which was topic to the identical analysis as all presents made in response to the federal government’s request for assist.
Ayanda Capital Restricted stated: “The masks equipped went via a rigorous technical assurance programme and meet all the necessities of the technical specs which had been made out there on-line via the federal government’s portal.
“There are provisions in our contract for product to be rejected if it didn’t meet the required specification as per the contract. These provisions haven’t been activated.”
A authorities assertion stated: “All through this international pandemic, we now have been working tirelessly to ship PPE to guard individuals on the frontline.
“Over 2.four billion gadgets have been delivered, and greater than 30 billion have been ordered from UK-based producers and worldwide companions to offer a steady provide, which meets the wants of well being and social care employees each now and sooner or later.
“There’s a sturdy course of in place to make sure orders are of top quality and meet strict security requirements, with the mandatory due diligence undertaken on all authorities contracts.”
The federal government beforehand revealed that some check kits, produced by Randox laboratories for NHS Check and Hint, might not have met its required security requirements and suspended their use in July.