September 29, 2020

Coronavirus: ‘Low confidence’ over arrival of PPE from Turkey

There is “relatively low confidence” a delayed delivery of 400,000 protective gowns will arrive on Monday, a senior NHS figure has said.

The consignment had been expected to arrive from Turkey on Sunday.

Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS Providers, told the BBC there was “no doubt” some hospital trusts already had shortages of the gowns, which protect those treating coronavirus patients.

A minister said he was “hopeful” the Turkish flight would leave on Monday.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said the government was “working very hard” to resolve the issue but added there had been “challenges at the Turkish end”.

“I don’t want to start making more and more promises but I understand that flight will take off this afternoon and those [gowns] will be delivered,” he told BBC Breakfast.

Another 25 million gowns from China had also been procured and the UK would be “getting those shortly as well”, he added.

Downing Street said the government had now delivered a billion pieces of personal protective equipment (PPE) to frontline staff.

The prime minister’s spokesman said delivery of gowns in particular was “pressured at the moment” and there was a “global supply problem”.

He said the government was working to ensure the shipment is “delivered as soon as it is ready” but it was not only reliant on Turkey and had “plenty more orders lined up and expected”.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said Scotland currently had “adequate stocks” of all the main items of PPE but gowns were one of the items “under most pressure”.

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