The PPE ‘czar’ needs to break the logjam in the supply of vital personal protective equipment (PPE) to NHS staff, after media reports that the government is paying a £1 million-a-day to store a PPE ‘mountain’, Unite the union, said today (Monday 23 November).

Unite, which has 100,000 members in the health service, said that the government’s PPE supremo Lord Deighton, appointed in the spring, urgently needs to intervene to sort out the supply chain problems.

Unite national officer for health Colenzo Jarrett-Thorpe said: “The long-running problems with the delivery of personal protective equipment (PPE) are a national scandal that have shocked the public  – and we are now calling for the government’s PPE ‘czar’ Lord Deighton  to urgently explain why there are continuing logjams in the supply chain.

“Media reports that the government has been paying £1 million-a-day to store a mountain of PPE desperately needed by NHS staff are very serious and need to be urgently tackled by Lord Deighton who seems to have gone off the radar.

“Our members on the NHS and social care frontline, such as speech and language therapists, paramedics and health visitors, are still reporting difficulties getting the necessary PPE nine months after the first lockdown –

“Lord Deighton and his team need to redouble their efforts in knocking heads together across Whitehall after he previously said there would be adequate supplies this winter.

“The supply and delivery of PPE have been devilled by variable quality with some items having to be sent back; storage issues; and how the contracts were awarded in the first place to those with close links with the Tory establishment, the so-called ‘chumocracy’, which have undermined the public’s trust and confidence in the government’s Covid-19 strategy.

“All NHS and social care staff must be given PPE, whatever job they have.

“All this is happening against a background of an estimated more than 600 NHS and social care workers dying from causes linked to Covid-19 – this PPE crisis needs to be resolved urgently out of respect to their memory. 

“Now more than ever these promises need to kept, as the NHS approaches the most challenging of winters.” 


Notes to editors:

For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940. Unite press office is on:  020 3371 2065.

Please note the numbers above are for journalists’ enquiries only.

Email: [email protected]

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Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest union with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.