How privatisation contributed to PPE shortages

An NHS Supply Chain van

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:

  1. 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”. 
  2. 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.
  3. 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?”
  4. 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 Much of the stock was out of date.
  5. 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 Starand 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:

Economists, journalists and activists have done the same - from Ann Pettifor to Paul Mason to Peter Tatchell:

With privatisation of the NHS supply chain now on the agenda, you can help ensure that outsourcing throughout the NHS is ended for good. 

Join the campaign to protect NHS staff, not private profit

An NHS Supply Chain van

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Gary Berridge replied on Permalink

Keep private companies out of NHS

Aruna Patel replied on Permalink

About time hospitals dealt with distributing directly, and not done by 4 or more private Tory funding distributors. Waste of resources. NHS is for the people and founded by the people - PM should realise more after his experience of this illness????

Brendan Murphy replied on Permalink

We've all seen Johnson washing his hands! He's washing them of responsibility for the deaths of NHS workers. End privetisation in the NHS!

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