COVID-19: Fury after BBC investigation exposes UK government's scandalous failure on pandemic PPE stockpiling despite warnings

A BBC ‘Panorama’ investigation which revealed that the Tories ignored warnings about missing vital equipment – with no gowns, visors, swabs or body bags in the government’s pandemic stockpile – has provoked a fierce backlash.

The shocking revelations uncovered by the program, which aired on Monday night, come as NHS staff say their lives are being put at risk because of a shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) in their fight against the coronavirus. Over 100 UK health and social care workers are known to have died from Covid-19.

The investigation found that crucial items were left out of the pandemic stockpile when it was set up in 2009. The UK government subsequently ignored warnings from its own advisers to buy missing equipment.

It meant that PM Boris Johnson’s Tory government was woefully ill-prepared for the deadly coronavirus outbreak, its pandemic stockpile lacking essential equipment for frontline staff, such as gowns, visors, swabs and body bags. The items are now in short supply.

Furthermore, it was revealed that the government was counting each PPE glove individually, rather than as a pair, which enabled them to boast about delivering one billion items of protective kit to NHS staff.

The expose has somewhat gone under the radar of many mainstream media outlets, but it has incited anger on social media. Honorary Vice President of the British Medical Association (BMA) Dr Kailash Chand claimed that he had “never been so hurt watching” the findings of the investigation and called for Health Secretary Matt Hancock’s resignation.

Dr Kailash Chand OBE @KailashChandOBE
#Lies As a foot soldier of the NHS for over 40 years,I have never been so hurt watching #Panorama The government was counting each single glove as an item of PPE in order to fiddle the figures &prove they were meeting demand. #PPEshortage killed #NHSheroes [email protected] Resign

Liam Thorp, political editor at the Liverpool Echo, took a swipe at the government’s consistent line that it has always been led by “the science” when it comes to its handling of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Others branded it “scandalous,” and expressed their anger at what they believe were preventable deaths. Gifs were also posted making fun of the government's rather dubious method for counting PPE.

Liam Thorp
Which science was it that told us not to stockpile life-saving PPE for a pandemic?

sue#[email protected]
#Panorama 8 finger covers, 2 thumb protectors, 2 palm defenders, 2 back of hand shields, 2 wrist guards.
16 items of PPE successfully delivered.
Tory ministry of truth.

Nick Dixon @_njd_
According to government figures, I have three hundred thousand and thirty four, nine hundred and seventy four thousand items of PPE under the sink.#Panorama

Devastating figures published by the Office for National Statistics on Tuesday revealed that England and Wales recorded their highest weekly death total since comparable records began in 1993.

A total of 22,351 people died in the week ending 17 April 2020 – a staggering 11,854 more than the five-year average. This is the largest number of deaths to occur in any week since statisticians began compiling the figures 27 years ago.

The report also revealed that the number of fatalities from Covid-19 in England and Wales was 35 percent higher than suggested by the figures announced by the government. RT

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