Huge amounts were spent on useless equipment and getting out of contracts or storing PPE at ports while nearly £2.6bn went on “items not suitable for use in the NHS
Tuesday 1 February
Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) figures show huge amounts were wasted on useless equipment, while millions of pounds has been spent getting out of contracts or storing PPE at ports.
Some £673m worth of equipment was found to be totally unusable, according the 2020/21 accounts, while £750m was spent on items that expired before being used.
Nearly £2.6bn was spent on “items not suitable for use in the NHS”, but which the department thinks can be sold or given to charities.
The DHSC also said the value of its remaining stock had been slashed by £4.7bn as the price of PPE dropped.
PPE was considered essential for health workers during the pandemic
Equipment that was scheduled to be delivered after the end of the financial year will lose £1.2bn in value, the figures show.
No 10 said: “We stand by the decision to purchase the items that we did. We were acting in a highly competitive global market with many countries imposing export bans and obviously we were seeking to secure PPE for frontline clinicians.”
At the start of the pandemic, prices for protective equipment rose sharply as countries clamoured to get hold of items such as face masks.
The closure of schools led to a loss of around £1.25m as the School Fruit and Vegetable Scheme (SFVS) was temporarily suspended.
Almost £250,000 of produce has been donated to food charities, the DHSC said.
Some of the ventilators ministers ordered “did not fully meet functionality requirements at the time”, incurring costs of £1.1m.
Officials wrote off laboratory equipment valued at £663,000 after two regional testing sites were closed and “there being no alternative options for repurposing or storing these assets”.
Additionally, a stockpile of intensive care unit items was created to prevent shortages.
The department was forced to pay out £649,000 for two flights from China that were cancelled because the PPE they were meant to be bringing to the UK was not available.
Another cancellation fee, this time of £339,000, was incurred following the cancellation of two contracts for quarantine hotels.