Responding to the publication of the Track and Trace report from Transparency International, Dr Chaand Nagpaul, BMA chair of council, said:
“This report is sadly not news to us. We have been campaigning on behalf of our members for the right PPE throughout the pandemic. We’ve given evidence to the Public Accounts Committee and we’ve written to MPs and Public Health England imploring Government to provide the correct protection.
“The sad truth is that health and social care staff had to care for people with Covid-19 without the right PPE to protect themselves from infection. In some cases, our members told us that they had to resort to buying their own PPE or relying on donations from schools to protect themselves and their colleagues.
“As a result of our campaigning, we received offers of help from PPE suppliers, some of whom said they hadn’t received responses when they contacted Government even as some hospitals were reporting that they were on the verge of running out of essential equipment. These were numerous and were sent over to the Department of Health and Social Care. We did this in order to help them obtain desperately needed PPE at a time when many doctors were reporting feeling anxious and unprotected.
“It is clear that the Government was poorly prepared for such a crisis, which ultimately affected the quality, timeliness and value for money of the PPE that the NHS then received.
“Greater transparency around private sector spending is essential to avoid the misuse of taxpayers’ money, yet we saw outsourcing being carried out with minimal oversight or governance. Deals were struck without adequate scrutiny and as a result, taxpayers’ money poured out of the Treasury at a time when the NHS was struggling to cope and in desperate need of investment.”