Moran attacks Hancock on his denial that there was a PPE shortage early in pandemic

The collective memory, the memories of the front like medical workers and the records in all manner of media outlets are wrong. The PPE shortage in the early months of the pandemic was an illusion, maybe a few shortages locally. That’s according to Health Secretary Matt Hancock.

He is blind to PPE shortages and the consequences. His appointment at Specsavers is overdue. Today, Layla Moran takes Hancock to task and tells of harrowing evidence she has heard from families who lost loved ones to Covid caught on wards, and from NHS and care home staff who were left without adequate PPE.

We all recall the images of frontline health staff wearing bin bags in the early days of the pandemic. NHS Providers told the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Coronavirus that supplies were “dangerously low” at some points and a dearth of gowns and visors left frontline staff in fear. Not so Matt Hancock told the Commons health and science select committee yesterday: “We’ve looked into this and there is no evidence that I have seen that a shortage of PPE provision led to anyone dying of Covid.” Quoted in the Sun, he said: I don’t deny at all there were challenges in individual areas – there was never a national shortage of PPE because of the action that we took.”

Layla Moran, chair of the APPG was distinctly unimpressed. Quoted in the Mirror today, she says:

Our cross-party group has received harrowing evidence from families who lost loved ones to Covid caught on wards and from NHS and care home staff who were left without adequate PPE. The Health Secretary’s comments are an insult to the frontline staff who have repeatedly risked their own safety throughout this pandemic, often without adequate protection.

We have heard first hand how a shortage of personal protective equipment has led to unnecessary deaths and leaving many individuals living with the life altering impact of long Covid.

Much of the media isn’t impressed either. Newshound usually thinks the only thing the Daily Star is good for is the Newmoggie’s litter tray but he makes an exception on this occasion:

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16 Comments

  • Peter Watson 11th Jun '21 - 11:46am

    I assume it’s a typo, but apparently “Moylan” means “son of the bald”, so I’m not sure I see it catching on as a nickname for Layla Moran. 😉

  • Sadly, the population seems to have forgotten the pictures of NHS staff wearing ‘bin-bags’ and home-made masks, the government excuses of ‘distribution problems’, the ‘delayed Turkish aircraft’, etc., etc.
    Equally sadly, this ‘investigation’ seems to be worse than useless. Whenever Handcock seems stuck for words Jeremy Hunt seems intent on ‘moving things on’..

  • It is almost criminal the way this government has escaped the backlash from the media and the general public over the mishandling of so many aspects of it’s response to the Covid emergency. So we’ll done Layla Moran.

  • John Marriott 11th Jun '21 - 12:30pm

    All I would say is that EVERYBODY made mistakes at the beginning. What IS important is that you learn from your mistakes. The jury is out on that at the moment.

  • The provision of adequate Personal Protection Equipment for staff and patients is central to what the NHS does. That appropriate buffer stocks and robust supply chains weren’t already in place is the fault of NHS management. Similarly, with the chaotic scramble for ventilators. Why was there no NHS reference design ready to go with manufacturers paid retainers to maintain tooling so production could be ramped up quickly? It’s not the government’s responsibility to micromanage NHS procurement. The pandemic has highlighted the huge waste of money in the NHS and PHE on paying managers who are demonstrably incapable of performing even basic management tasks.

  • Barry Lofty 11th Jun '21 - 1:05pm

    Funny how the government have taken all the credit for the vaccine rollout?? Take the good news and disown the bad.

  • Time will tell whichever of Cummings or Hancock is telling the truth (or not).

    Their common denominator is that both were appointed by that well known purveyor of ‘sandpapering’ the truth, Teflon Johnson – and what it all says about the culture around him.

  • Barry Lofty 11th Jun ’21 – 1:05pm:
    Funny how the government have taken all the credit for the vaccine rollout??

    Much of the credit belongs to Kate Bingham and her team who rapidly evaluated the various developmental vaccines and backed winners before it was known they would work…

    ‘Coronavirus: UK’s nimble vaccine task force has left rivals trailing in its wake’ [29th. January 2020]:
    https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/coronavirus-uks-nimble-vaccine-task-force-has-left-rivals-trailing-in-its-wake-kpbqkpbrv

    When Boris Johnson called Kate Bingham last April and asked her to lead Britain’s vaccine task force the brief was simple: “Stop people from dying.”

    After thinking it over for 24 hours, Ms Bingham took the (unpaid) job and set about it at speed. A biochemist turned venture capitalist, she assembled a small team of private sector experts who knew the science, industry and logistics of making it all work.

    Within a fortnight they had drawn up a shortlist of 23 vaccines from four different vaccine technologies. The key criterion, given the priority of saving lives, was not to find the perfect vaccine but the one (or ones) that would reduce the severity of infection and be ready for market within a year.

  • @ Jeff “Much of the credit belongs to Kate Bingham and her team”……

    Come off it, Jeff. The credit belongs to Professor Sarah Gilbert and her team at Oxford University.

    I remember her ending an interview with the BBC journalist Andrew Marr with the characteristic words… “I really must get back to work”……..

  • Barry Lofty 11th Jun '21 - 2:43pm

    Jeff: Kate Binghams unpaid work on the vaccine front is probably going to be rewarded with a damehood so not without its reward and not forgetting how much we tax payers coughed up to get higher up the waiting list to procure those vaccines. Not that I am unhappy to get my own vaccinations and was impressed with the organisation and skill of our local vaccination centre, incidentally I am also proud of my daughter, an ex nurse and midwife, who retrained and is now vaccinating the public in her area. These are the people we should be thanking along with the local organisations up and down the country. But I doubt we will agree, so we must agree to disagree.

  • Jeff 11th Jun ’21 – 1:01pm……….The provision of adequate Personal Protection Equipment for staff and patients is central to what the NHS does. That appropriate buffer stocks and robust supply chains weren’t already in place is the fault of NHS management. Similarly, with the chaotic scramble for ventilators. Why was there no NHS reference design ready to go with manufacturers paid retainers to maintain tooling so production could be ramped up quickly? It’s not the government’s responsibility to micromanage NHS procurement. The pandemic has highlighted the huge waste of money in the NHS and PHE on paying managers who are demonstrably incapable of performing even basic management tasks………………………….

    You are Matt Handcock and I claim my £5.. Otherwise, you have really bought into the government’s narrative…
    1) Prior to the pandemic where was the NHS budget to keep pandemic levels of ventilators/PPE coming from?
    2) You seem to have (conveniently) forgotten how those manufacturers who actually supply proven ventilators/PPE to the NHS were complaining about having spare capacity and requesting contracts but being bypassed by the issuing of contracts to JCB, Dyson, Burberry, etc. and to Handcock’s one time pub landlord..

  • john oundle 12th Jun '21 - 8:36am

    expats

    ‘Sadly, the population seems to have forgotten the pictures of NHS staff wearing ‘bin-bags’ and home-made masks, the government excuses of ‘distribution problems’, the ‘delayed Turkish aircraft’, etc., etc.’

    You could also add that fortunately the public has forgotten Moran’s pleading the the UK joined the EU PPE tender process ( my wife’s French family confirmed as a total disaster,Ventilators finally delivered 4 months late etc.).
    Not to mention the same advice when it came to joining the EU vaccination program, another bullet dodged.

  • john oundle 12th Jun ’21 – 8:36am,,,,,,,,

    What has the EU to do with this thread? Although I note that ,’having dodged the bullet’, we still have the highest total deaths in Europe..
    I am always ‘amused’ at how, when the UK gets something right, we have to compare it with the EU/World but when, it’s our disaster, we scream “Don’t compare”…

  • David Raw 11th Jun ’21 – 2:34pm:
    Come off it, Jeff. The credit belongs to Professor Sarah Gilbert and her team at Oxford University.

    While Dame Sarah Gilbert and her team, her employer’s decision not to charge royalties, and AstraZeneca’s agreement to manufacture at cost, have all made a huge contribution, both in the UK and worldwide, they are not the primary differentiator for the speed of the UK’s vaccination programme. The first vaccinations in the UK came from Pfizer. The UK’s increased production capacity has largely been funded by the Vaccines Taskforce (VTF).

    ‘UK government Vaccines Taskforce (VTF): 2020 achievements and future strategy’ [December 2020]:
    https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-government-vaccines-taskforce-vtf-2020-achievements-and-future-strategy

    This interim report outlines the progress VTF has made this year under Kate Bingham’s leadership, to secure vaccines for the UK, working internationally to develop and increase access to vaccines, and building the UK’s capability in vaccine development.

    Barry Lofty 11th Jun ’21 – 2:43pm:
    …not forgetting how much we tax payers coughed up to get higher up the waiting list to procure those vaccines.

    Much of the UK’s extra funding went into ramping up production capacity.

    These are the people we should be thanking along with the local organisations up and down the country.

    Yes of course they should be thanked, but the many dedicated people involved in distributing and administering the vaccines are not the differentiator for the UK’s success as compared to most other countries. Even sparsely populated developing countries seem capable of rolling the vaccine out quickly once they obtain supplies.

  • Helen Dudden 13th Jun '21 - 8:10am

    There have been many unpleasant side effects from the handling of the virus. One I feel strongly about is lack of treatment for any other conditions.
    I still feel this is another additional topic.
    The lack of transparency and truth.
    Many will have funded treatment themselves if they could afford it not.
    Like Johnson’s opinions on private tutors paid for by hard working parents.
    One of the most narrow minded comments even by his standards.

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