Report shows enormity of the Government’s failure to protect frontline staff because of shambolic PPE supply management, says BMA

by BMA media office

Press release from the BMA.

Location: England
Published: Wednesday 10 February 2021
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Responding to today’s publication of the Public Accounts Committee’s report1 into the Government’s procurement and supply of PPE during the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, the BMA Chair of Council, Dr Chaand Nagpaul, said:

“Within the pages of this report is the appalling and awful truth about health and social care staff  having to care for people with COVID-19 or suspected COVID-19 without any or enough PPE to protect themselves from infection. This should never have happened and lives should not have been put at risk because of it.

“The BMA gave evidence to the Committee, which is quoted in this report, drawing on wide feedback received from doctors throughout the nation. We knew from our survey2 of over 16,000 of our members in April of last year that just 12% of doctors felt fully protected in their workplace from the virus and half of the respondents had resorted to purchasing their own PPE or relied on donations.  At the same time, the Government was assuring us that there were adequate plans and adequate stockpiles, and the message to us was: “Don’t worry; we have enough.”

“The report’s recommendations must be acted upon by the Department for Health and Social Care and the Cabinet Office, within the timescales laid out. The Government must learn from these terrible shortcomings – from its poor planning, from its lack of transparency about the PPE buying decisions it made, but most importantly, from those on the ‘front line’. The Government needs to listen to the experiences of doctors, of all health and social care workers, understand the life threatening risks they had to take to care for their patients and then, do everything possible to make sure no healthcare worker is ever put at risk in this way again.”


Notes to editors

The BMA is a trade union and professional association representing and negotiating on behalf of all doctors in the UK. A leading voice advocating for outstanding health care and a healthy population. An association providing members with excellent individual services and support throughout their lives.

  1. For more details on the PAC report please contact: Jessica Bridges Palmer – 07917 488 489
  2. BMA survey on PPE shortage supply – April 2020.

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