UK Government Amortizes £ 8.7bn to Pandemic PPE

According to the annual report, approximately £ 8.7 billion spent by the government on personal protective equipment (PPE) during the pandemic was amortized.

A new document from the Department of Health (DHSC) shows that a huge amount of useless equipment is wasted, but it costs millions of pounds to break out of contracts and store PPE in ports. It has been.

According to the 2020/21 account, approximately £ 673 million worth of equipment was found to be completely unusable, and £ 750m was spent on items that were not used before they expired. I did.

Nearly £ 2.6 billion has been spent on “items unsuitable for use in the NHS,” which the department believes can be sold or donated to charities.

DHSC also said that the price of PPE fell, reducing the value of the remaining inventory by £ 4.7 billion.

When the pandemic began, the price of protective equipment skyrocketed as countries demanded access to items such as face masks.

Accounting further reveals that DHSC expects the value of equipment to be delivered after the end of the fiscal year to decrease by £ 1.2 billion.

The government was also charged £ 111.5 million for not moving PPE-filled containers from the port to the storage facility on time.

A nurse changing PPE in Word 5, the COVID Red Ward of Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley, Scotland, January 27, 2021. (JaneBarlow / PA)

The account also includes fruit and vegetable losses after the school’s Fruit and Vegetable Scheme (SFVS) was temporarily suspended due to the closure of all schools.

DHSC has already contracted to pay for the produce delivered to the school, resulting in a loss of £ 1.25 million. This includes £ 657,000 for distribution and £ 590,000 for produce.

DHSC said it donated £ 247,000 of fruits and vegetables to a food charity.

Further losses recorded in the annual account include £ 1.1 million, which is 70% of undelivered orders for ventilators that “do not fully meet the functional requirements of the time.”

The account states: “As a result, the remaining orders were canceled. The supplier was unable to recover 30% of the contract amount because it technically met the contract specifications and was already incurring costs.”

That year, DHSC amortized £ 663,000 worth of experimental equipment as two regional testing sites were closed and “there was no alternative option for diversion or storage of these assets.”

In addition, a stockpile of intensive care unit items has been created to prevent shortages.

The report states: “A small number of items worth £ 313,000 have expired and have to be amortized.”

Regarding the NHS Test and Trace, the DHSC “has lost a total of £ 195m in consumables for items for which no suitable use has been identified at this time.”

The two flights related to the shipment of PPE from China had to be canceled because they were out of stock at the time, and the £ 649,000 deposit for the two flights was treated as a cancellation fee “according to the terms and conditions”.

The report also noted “changes in requirements”, which means that DHSC paid a cancellation fee of £ 339,000 following the cancellation of the two contracts of the quarantine hotel.

Delayed payment of the invoice as a result of the initial contractual dispute resulted in a total interest of £ 1.6 million paid to the supplier, forcing DHSC to pay.

In his section on accounting, the Government Auditor, the Accounting Auditor and the General Auditor, the DHSC was exposed to “abnormal pressure” by the pandemic and had to operate outside of normal processes and procedures. Said that.

However, he said, “some of the increased risks could not be properly managed, resulting in significant losses to taxpayers.” Almost two years later, effective management of some of the purchased inventory has not been fully restored. “

“The Treasury Chief Secretary sent a letter to the Treasury on December 21, 2021, confirming the Treasury’s view that the Treasury’s spending of £ 1.3 billion is irregular without the proper consent of the Treasury. He said that “in most cases” this was due to either the department or NHS England spending money without approval or in explicit violation of the set conditions.

PA media