Nick Smith MP Labour MP for Blaenau Gwent
Mountains of unusable PPE purchased by the government is set to be burned for fuel, Blaenau Gwent MP Nick Smith heard this week.
At a Public Accounts Committee hearing on Monday, March 7, Mr Smith questioned Jonathan Marron, the Department of Health and Social Care’s director general of office for health improvement and disparities about the massive amount of PPE sitting unused in storage.
At previous hearings Mr Smith had revealed some of the eye-watering costs of the government’s poor procurement processes during the pandemic.
Responding to Mr Smith’s question about what was being done with the stacks of surplus PPE, Mr Marron confirmed that, although some of it is being recycled, around 15,000 pallets of equipment will be burned every month for fuel to generate electricity.
Mr Smith said: “We all know that there was a great need to quickly stock up on PPE at the onset of the pandemic, but it is ludicrous to have ended up with so many items stuck in shipping containers, racking up costs of £500k a day.
“Even worse, £1.5bn was blown on three billion items of PPE that were of no use to the NHS due to their sub-standard quality. A further 230 million items of PPE were found to be of absolutely no use to anyone.
“And now the government finds itself in a position where the best use it can make of these items is to burn them for fuel.
“This, unfortunately, is just another example of the wasteful spending and questionable contracting that has taken place throughout the government’s pandemic response.”