26 November 2020
The National Audit Office released a shocking report last week on the procurement of PPE at the height of the pandemic in the spring.
The report found that a 'high priority' channel for sourcing PPE had been set up, with companies in that channel being ten times more likely to receive a contract than those that weren't.
So what did it take to be included in that channel? Longstanding experience in manufacturing or sourcing PPE? A proven track record of delivering safe and effective equipment on a tight deadline?
No. In order to be included in the 'high priority' channel, in order to be ten times more likely to receive a contract to deliver PPE, all you needed was for your company to have a connection to an MP, a government minister or a member of the House of Lords.
This is crooked and it's corrupt - pure and simple.
Taking just one example - Ayanda Capital - it's clear how absurd this all is. Ayanda Capital was paid £155 million in a deal brokered by an advisor to the Board of Trade which saw 50 million masks bought, none of which could be used by NHS workers.
The impact of this is shocking. Companies with no experience being handed multi-million pound contracts and failing to deliver. All the while, our NHS staff were put needlessly at risk as a result of the shortages of PPE they faced.
This has to stop. We can't allow this jobs-for-the-boys approach of responding to the pandemic to continue.
But the problem is bigger than just the dodgy business of doling out contracts to the government's mates. The PPE shortage scandal was partly caused by the fact that the NHS supply chain was outsourced, creating a indecipherable web of contracts and sub contracts, with private companies siphoning off cash at every level of the chain.
You can help, by spreading the word and making clear that the public won't stand for this. By sharing the graphics below on social media, and tagging We Own It (@we_ownit on Twitter, @weownit_campaign on Instagram), you can help demonstrate that we want an end to contracts for MPs' mates, and the NHS Supply Chain brought back in house.
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Privatised and unprepared - the NHS Supply Chain
On Thursday 26 November, We Own It hosted Rachel Reeves MP, openDemocracy UK editor Caroline Molloy and Professor David Hall to discuss the impact of the privatisation of the NHS Supply Chain. You can watch the recording of that event here:
You can also download and read Professor David Hall's presentation from the event detailing how the NHS Supply Chain has been privatised here.