James O'Brien 10am - 1pm
LBC confronts minister over UK missing chances to bulk-buy PPE
14 April 2020, 09:43
Nick Ferrari confronted Work and Pensions Secretary over the government's protective equipment roll out which is, simply, "not working."
The government missed three chances to bulk-buy protective equipment as part of an EU scheme, it has been reported.
Work and Pensions secretary Thérèse Coffey told Nick Ferrari there was no benefit in being part of this scheme and instead "we are in a better state now" in regards to PPE procurement.
Nick repeatedly questioned why, in this case, did the government opted to attend a meeting on the EU scheme on 19 March after declining to attend an earlier meeting.
Ms Coffey said even though the government was part of this particular meeting, it does not "change the basis of our assessment that it would not have made any difference to our procurement of PPE."
Nick insisted this did not make sense, "Why did the country decide to go if there were no benefits?"
"The government has made an assessment that by joining the schemes it wasn't going to make any particular difference to the procurement of PPE...that's still the outcome," Ms Coffey said.
The Secretary of State told LBC that Britain now has over 700 million pieces of PPE and continues to procure it both internationally and domestically; she did concede it was not distributed effectively around the country initially.
Now, the minister said, the government is supported by the armed forces who are involved in the daily distribution of PPE.
Nick urged that PPE distribution is not working, "When you look at a survey by the Doctors Association UK that says only 52% of clinicians carrying out high risk procedures have the right full sleeve gowns. Your system, while I don't question your efforts clearly is not working."
"My understanding is supplies are being made daily to clinical settings around the country and we've also started adding care homes and hospices to make sure that they can secure PPE as well," Ms Coffey responded.
Nick observed the Royal College of Nursing issued a statement yesterday that emboldens nurses to refuse people treatment if they do not have the correct protective equipment, adding this did not send a message of confidence.
"The point is we are getting PPE around the country," Ms Coffey said.