27 May 2020
Over 300 NHS and care workers now having tragically lost their lives, and many of these deaths being "avoidable with proper PPE". It's absolutely vital that we understand how this happened, and what caused the failure of the government to source adequate PPE
That's why we released a report last week which exposed the devastating impact privatisation of the NHS supply chain has had on the government's response to coronavirus. This revealed how our current system for sourcing PPE embeds four levels of profit taking throughout in a horrendously complicated system. And it also show how private companies have been failing to deliver, allowing stockpiles to dwindle and leaving us unprepared.
There are dozens of private companies involved, but five of those that have performed the worst are:
- DHL - the parcel delivery company. DHL is in charge of finding wholesalers to supply ward based consumables, including PPE kits. In the last year, DHL has been directly controlling at least £4 billion of NHS spending. DHL boasts that it originally helped to privatise “the government purchasing and supply agency and logistics agency”.
- Unipart - responsible for delivering PPE through its £730 million NHS logistics contract. Unipart’s CEO promised to ‘cure the NHS’ in 2013 but its “just in time” approach goes against the need to stockpile medical goods, such as PPE.
- Deloitte - the multinational accountancy firm. Deloitte has won a series of major NHS contracts – for designing the procurement system in the first place and more recently for managing logistics for PPE and testing centres. “It’s been a nightmare to deal with Deloitte,” one British factory owner said. “They don’t seem to understand how supply chains work…why have they barely spoken to factories across this country who know how to make this kit?”
- Movianto - the healthcare logistics company. Movianto won a £55 million contract in 2018 to provide a stockpile of equipment, mostly PPE, in case of a pandemic. According to delivery drivers, Movianto was not ready to get the deliveries out to hospitals, due to “bad management” of the stock and short-staffing at its “chaotic” custom-built warehouse. Much of the stock was out of date.
- Clipper Logistics - another logistics company. Clipper has been contracted to run a separate PPE channel for NHS Trusts, GPs and care homes. Clipper’s chairman Steven Parkin donated £725,000 to the Conservative Party in the last 5 years. The company is accused of threatening workers with disciplinary action over concerns about coming into work during the pandemic.
This exposé has already been making waves. It's been covered by George Monbiot in his latest Guardian column, its been featured on the front page of the Morning Star, and was covered by The New European, The Canary and Tribune among others. And it's spread like wildfire across social media.
MPs from Jeremy Corbyn to John McDonnell and from Clive Lewis to Caroline Lucas have shared the report to their millions of followers:
This exposes the scandal of privatisation in the #NHS supply chain v— Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) May 21, 2020
X #PPE items go through 4 levels of profit taking
X Privatisation is part of the #PPEshortage story
X Private companies continually fail to deliver
Privatisation must end.https://t.co/dK7nOzWX7P
The impact of privatisation laid bare.... another devastating report, well worth a read v https://t.co/AaJZdkf4Vv— Clive Lewis MP (@labourlewis) May 22, 2020
Economists, journalists and activists have done the same - from Ann Pettifor to Paul Mason to Peter Tatchell:
UK government ministers have looked inept, unprepared and gormless over PPE and the NHS. The reason? Thanks to privatisation, layers and layers of profit-taking at each stage of NHS purchasing. This vital report explains a lot. https://t.co/zPopTgEtuN— Ann Pettifor (@AnnPettifor) May 21, 2020
The PPE scandal is not just incompetence - it's the systematic injection of market norms of behaviour into public sector decision making - excellent report here... https://t.co/NIxpoijHbY— Paul Mason (@paulmasonnews) May 21, 2020
With privatisation of the NHS supply chain now on the agenda, you can help ensure that outsourcing throughout the NHS is ended for good.
Image credit: Graham Richardson - Creative Commons