Finding PPE

We have all got used to the initials PPE, meaning  protective clothing for people working in the NHS and social care. The government has told us it wants there to be a plentiful supply, and Ministers have authorised spending to provide one. Despite this there is a persistent issue over whether supplies and stocks are adequate in a range of Health and Social care establishments.

I have spent time each day on this problem for the local organisations that report insufficient supplies and stocks. I have  badgered the government through Ministers and the Cabinet Office. I have asked the Local resilience Forum for help, as we were told they had an important role locally. I have worked with Wokingham Borough who want to source more clothing for their social service responsibilities.

As a result of the strong MP and media interest and the demands from various hospitals and care homes the centre and the regions have set up organisations to try to ease the shortage. As an alert reader will have noticed, so far I have only mentioned organisations that are trying to buy or obtain PPE. The problem of course lies mainly  with the supply. The world is short of PPE because there has been a big surge in world demand.

I have been able to pass on some leads to public sector bodies who need to buy more PPE. There are various manufacturers and stockists out there who can provide more PPE, and who want the extra orders. Some potential manufacturers say they are experiencing delays in getting their product approved and registered as suitable for purchase and use. Clearly the public sector needs to make rapid decisions, though it should see and test a sample of  the goods first.

It should not be a logistics problem. The army is doing great work strengthening public sector delivery systems. There are plenty of laid up trucks and  vans in the private sector needing work, and plenty of us would volunteer to drive a load in the backs of our own vehicles to an individual local care home if needed.

Given the will to provide more, the money to pay for it and the flexibility of manufacturers in need of work, it should  be possible to crack this problem. Companies wanting to supply need to send in urgent samples, and the buyers in the public sector need to respond quickly with orders.

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  1. Lifelogic
    Posted April 18, 2020 at 5:16 am | Permalink

    All sensible stuff. The pandemic planning should also have foreseen all this. They should have had planning in place so that production (of this and the other equipment, oxygen supplies, drugs etc. likely to be needed) could be ramped up quickly and locally. But clearly the “experts” failed in this duty.

    • Peter Wood
      Posted April 18, 2020 at 6:08 am | Permalink

      Let me understand, China ‘accidently’ releases this infectious virus, China waits till its gone worldwide before telling us how bad it is, China makes all the PPE that the World needs… What a business model!

      • Fred H
        Posted April 18, 2020 at 7:46 am | Permalink

        and ships faulty (untested?) goods. Sounds a bit familiar with China.

        • Hope
          Posted April 18, 2020 at 8:38 am | Permalink

          JR, this is what PHE should have planned for and already approached manufacturers should the need arise. Your blog shows what we already know Pitiful preparation by PHE and useless health secretary(s).

          You might recall from your previous blog I along with others highlighted how Hamleys turned it toy factory to produce stun guns during the war. Why was this not being planned or thought about in February/March? Could it be Hancock told parliament, played back to him on TV this week, how well the U.K. was prepared etc.

          SARS, Mirs were recent pandemics to show what might be needed..

          Hunt should recuse himself from chair of health committee. Totally inappropriate. Cannot he see if there is an inquiry to the woeful preparation that he will need to questioned? Does anyone in govt/parliament have any ethics or values in line with normal society?

          Sharma, again, failing to answer questions, it cause mistrust.

          Shapps announcing not to book holidays, will devastate travel industry. It also makes the continuing govt open border policy, that caused this disease to enter our country, utterly ridiculous.

        • Hope
          Posted April 18, 2020 at 9:19 am | Permalink

          Hancock tells the nation NHS very well prepared, there are plenty of stocks of PPE it is logistical issue. Turns out to be rubbish. Low to moderate risk borders kept open turns out to be rubbish causing death and suffering, 4,000 prisoners released when deputy chief medical officer says healthy families not to visit other healthy families as they could infect, why would prisoners be exempt, house arrest of nation without any scientific evidence it works,.

          Starting to sound like Brexit means Brexit, May’s deal is dead. Dishonest strap lines, dishonesty causes mistrust.

          Tory govt never learns. I think it safe to say ignore what the govt says, it is not scientific led, we see that from its continuing open borders which caused the disease to come here, more people entered the country to spread the disease since January than tests given, its Relationship and Sex Education Act where it is forcing children from September to accept a man can be a woman against all scientific and biological fact. Clap when you are told that is not a request but an instruction!

      • bill brown
        Posted April 18, 2020 at 8:52 am | Permalink

        Pete Wood,

        Interesting, but absolute nonsense

        • Peter Wood
          Posted April 19, 2020 at 2:56 am | Permalink


          You guys don’t get it do you; this is how the CPC works, the virus is an EXAMPLE of the insidious method of infiltration into the ‘soft’ nations of the West. Think 5G, Hinckley Point C, Belt and Road. Sun Tzu was Chinese….

          • bill brown
            Posted April 19, 2020 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

            Peter Wood

            Keep dreaming

      • JoolsB
        Posted April 18, 2020 at 9:06 am | Permalink

        Apparently the last batch of £20 million’s worth was faulty and the Government are now trying to get ‘some’ of their money back. You just couldn’t make it up could you?

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted April 18, 2020 at 9:18 am | Permalink

        Oh, so it’s not WHO’s fault after all, but China’s.

        I’m glad that’s settled, Peter.

      • rose
        Posted April 18, 2020 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

        You have left out the bit where China bought up the essential supplies over several weeks from all over the world.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted April 18, 2020 at 7:01 am | Permalink

      It’s reactive and follows that logic.

      However, the post is silent on the reason for which the problem has arisen.

      If your socio-economic model is all about the bottom line, then you do not invest in anything which incurs costs, but with no foreseeably guaranteed profits.

      This crisis has exposed some of the terrible flaws of the Anglo-Saxon Model.

      However, to the ideologues who determine the system in which we live, I expect that it will be the financial, and not the human impact of this disease, which will precipitate such change as there might be.

      • Edward2
        Posted April 18, 2020 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

        What is this Anglo Saxon model you refer to?
        With it’s terrible flaws.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted April 19, 2020 at 6:44 am | Permalink

          It is what the US and UK have, but the Scandinavians, Germans, French etc. do not, Ed.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted April 19, 2020 at 6:46 am | Permalink

          Wiki opens with “the Anglo-Saxon model or Anglo-Saxon capitalism (so called because it is practiced in English-speaking countries such as the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and Ireland) is a capitalist model that emerged in the 1970s based on the Chicago school of economics. However, its origins date to the 18th century in the United Kingdom under the ideas of the classical economist Adam Smith.”

          • Edward2
            Posted April 19, 2020 at 7:11 am | Permalink

            I dont see much difference between European non English speaking nations and the rest you list.
            Their governments are about the same size, state spending is about the same size and taxes are similar.
            They are all mixed economies with in general centrist democratic governments.

          • czerwonadupa
            Posted April 20, 2020 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

            So you haven’t read the Chinese Road to Capitalism by R Smith or State Neolibralism – China’s Road to Capitalism by Yin-wah Chu?
            Or asked any Africans in Africa what they think of their Chinese masters?

    • oldtimer
      Posted April 18, 2020 at 7:10 am | Permalink

      This problem of shortages will be repeated a thousand fold in the months ahead. All will be courtesy of the government and its ill-advised advisors who have willfully chopped off “the invisible hands”, so well described by Adam Smith, on which we all depend and take for granted. Clueless does not begin to describe the management of this crisis.

    • BeebTax
      Posted April 18, 2020 at 7:26 am | Permalink

      One wonders what else we ought to have the capacity to produce or source in this country, “just in case”. Food security, strategic energy reserve, weapons manufacturing capability, raw materials etc….I think a thorough examination is needed when we’re over the current pandemic, as it has shown that in a crisis, nobody can rely on other countries.

    • Everhopeful
      Posted April 18, 2020 at 8:18 am | Permalink

      It wouldn’t really have been such an “emergency” if preparation had been made!
      After all, this pandemic was foreseen.
      Trying to do the maths though…all these cases of cov19….all the staff …all the hospitals and the fact that masks, gloves,gowns, goggles,aprons are disposable and thus meant for one use only. ( And media calls scandal when reuse is suggested).
      How on earth could the supply be continuous under any circumstances?
      What would it be? One patient’s worth of wear? One day’s wear? One hour/minute/second?
      I wonder what the “predictive models” say and why they didn’t say it before?

    • Andy
      Posted April 18, 2020 at 9:42 am | Permalink

      The experts have spent the last four years dealing only with your Brexit.

      All the people who know about logistics and planning have been diverted to dealing with the Tory effort to make us all poorer.

      And people wonder why the UK has failed so spectacularly?

      • Edward2
        Posted April 18, 2020 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

        Don’t be silly Andy.
        The experts on trade are not the same as experts on viruses.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted April 19, 2020 at 6:48 am | Permalink

          Please read and understand people’s posts properly before making yourself look silly, Ed,

          • Edward2
            Posted April 19, 2020 at 7:12 am | Permalink

            I read it thanks.
            It is complete and utter nonsense.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted April 19, 2020 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

            So you didn’t understand it then.

          • Edward2
            Posted April 20, 2020 at 7:10 am | Permalink

            He claimed all the experts (logistics and planning) were diverted for the last four years dealing only with Brexit.
            Complete and utter nonsense.

  2. oldwulf
    Posted April 18, 2020 at 5:24 am | Permalink

    What has been the role of Public Health England in sourcing PPE ?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted April 18, 2020 at 6:16 am | Permalink

      Grit in the ointment or a spanner in the works one suspects – but to be fair I do not really know!

      • Hope
        Posted April 18, 2020 at 8:45 am | Permalink

        No it is not just about sourcing but making contingency plans for logistics and making such items. PHE, NHS England and govt have a lot of questions to answer. First priority is to keep us safe, caused suffering, death and economic disaster. It has resoundingly failed. It is still funding the WHO that has proven to be of no value whatsoever in helping stop or prevent the spread of this disease. Instead wanted to carp on about climate crap just like PHE wanting to politicise climate, sugar foods and drinks etc, all trivia virtual signaling.

        Govt announces another quango a vaccine task force! All to distract blame. Where was PHE planning for vaccines for unknown diseases from pandemics? Again, the announcement demonstrated deceit to distract clear failing on current actions for house arrest and a clear lack of preparation. Or was PHE like the civil service going to rely on zchina for everything to promote its road and belt project to secure world dominant status?

    • Mark B
      Posted April 18, 2020 at 6:20 am | Permalink

      Good question.

      I wonder if any of our so called journalists have asked that question ? Time to turn the spotlight on a few overpaid bureaucrats.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted April 18, 2020 at 9:12 am | Permalink

        Most Journalist just repeat the distortions, lies and propaganda that they are given from government, companies, pressure groups and the likes. Only a few have time (or are even up to the task) of questioning it and reporting honestly.

        But then if they do ask sensible questions as Andrew Neil does sometimes then many ministers just refuse to be interviewed by them? So they take a “what would you like to say next Minister” position like Andrew Marr and Evan Davis.

      • DaveK
        Posted April 18, 2020 at 10:30 am | Permalink

        If you look up Christopher Snowdons blog Velvet Glove Iron Fist you will see lots of info about PHE. One point appears to be the movement away from contagious diseases to “nanny state” lifestyle interference. To paraphrase, whilst people in the UK are still getting TB and Typhoid they should not be concentrating on middle aged wine drinkers or gambling machines. The organisation seems to have been captured by social “science” types rather than medical expertise.

      • UK Qanon
        Posted April 18, 2020 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

        Meanwhile the vain glorious EU project, HS2 gets the nod. Not many knew about that and still do not. What an absolute disgrace and a TOTAL waste of money.

    • Alan Jutson
      Posted April 18, 2020 at 6:53 am | Permalink


      It would seem to me that whist we all understand there is a World shortage of equipment, and perhaps it is more difficult to get than normal, we know from past history that purchases which are made on behalf of the NHS are chaotic, with different Trusts purchasing all sorts of different equipment at different prices even from the same suppliers.
      Has this been modified, and do we now have one organisation/person in control who can drive this with some common sense and passion.

      I also understand from media reports (if they are to be believed) that china is sending us goods and equipment which is miss labelled, does not meet specification, and in some cases is faulty.

      I assume the performance of all organisations and suppliers, no matter from where they are based, are being monitored on their performance for future orders.

      I have posted about companies being able to switch production. and van owners being idle before.

      In the meantime cannot the hard plastic visors/face masks goggles, etc be washed with normal soap and water, which we are told is the best method to kill the virus, so they are safe and can be used, rather than simply being destroyed.

      A simple dishwasher type of washing machine should be suitable.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted April 18, 2020 at 7:08 am | Permalink

      PHE is part of the machinery of the Government. It is an Executive Agency, not a “quango.”

      From what I have read, purchasing for health provision is not part of its remit.

      • Edward2
        Posted April 18, 2020 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

        Phe is a quango.
        As defined.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted April 19, 2020 at 6:49 am | Permalink

          No, it is an Executive Agency.

          As defined.

          • Edward2
            Posted April 19, 2020 at 7:15 am | Permalink

            It’s a quango as defined.
            An administrative body outside the civil service but receiving financial support from the government which makes senior appointments to it.

      • oldwulf
        Posted April 18, 2020 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

        So … PHE writes lots of words about PPE, spends over £4.5 billion annually but plays no part in sourcing the PPE, about which it writes ?

        • oldwulf
          Posted April 19, 2020 at 6:30 am | Permalink

          We are in a financial crisis. Everyone needs to play their part, including PHE. It should be set a target to cut the less effective costs from its budget (including waste) to reduce its annual spending by 50% and, at the same time, take responsibility for sourcing the PPE about which it knows so much.

      • Fred H
        Posted April 18, 2020 at 10:16 pm | Permalink

        maybe not purchasing – but grabbing it most certainly is.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted April 19, 2020 at 6:50 am | Permalink

          I’m not defending it, but it is a part of government.

          The one for which you voted.

  3. Bob Dixon
    Posted April 18, 2020 at 5:30 am | Permalink

    The specifications and standards for PPE clothing,masks,gloves & footware can be put on the internet for potential Uk manufacturers.
    So why is there shortages?

    • JoolsB
      Posted April 18, 2020 at 9:04 am | Permalink

      Apparently there are lots of businesses who have had to furlough their staff who have offered to help in the manufacture of PPE equipment but have had no response from the Government. It seems they’d rather rely on getting it from China instead.

    • L Jones
      Posted April 18, 2020 at 10:53 am | Permalink

      Isn’t it because there is a reluctance to involve the private sector? Surely there are plenty of manufacturers whose facilities and expertise could be used.

  4. Javelin
    Posted April 18, 2020 at 5:39 am | Permalink

    The UK is ALREADY suffering from a fatal pandemic disease – its called obesity and type 2 diabetes.

    It will kill millions of people.

    We’ve become habituated to the current fatal pandemic because it kills very slowly. All covid-19 has done is to speed the process up.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted April 18, 2020 at 6:14 am | Permalink

      And we have a treatment for type II diabetes. It costs nothing (saves money in fact), has no bad side effects, needs no medical experts or anything and makes you feel far better and healthier in many other ways too. Fewer knee, foot and hip problems or operations needed, lowers blood pressure, fewer cardio vascular problems, less cancer, easier breathing, less CO2 emissions too (if that bothers you) …….

      All you have to do is eat far less, drink rather less or no alcohol, fewer carbs and sugars and get your weight dramatically down to sensible levels. There is an excellent book by Prof Roy Taylor “Life without Diabetes” it should be given to all with the condition or likely to develop it. GPs should say read that and come back in a month when you weight 10KG less, next patient please!

      • Lifelogic
        Posted April 18, 2020 at 6:21 am | Permalink

        If people did this it would save far more “quality life years” than are being lost through this damn virus and and save millions of people money too.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted April 18, 2020 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

        Give you a better chance of surviving corona-virus to it seems.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted April 18, 2020 at 7:09 am | Permalink

      It’s not contagious.

    • John E
      Posted April 18, 2020 at 10:02 am | Permalink

      Yes as a US doctor asked, where have all the heart attack and stroke victims gone? Those deaths are way down because they are being classed as Covid 19 deaths.

      We will look back on this as a time of collective hysteria driven by our lack of preparedness.

      • anon
        Posted April 20, 2020 at 12:01 am | Permalink

        Maybe, but why are they happening in a relatively compressed short period of time? compared with prior years annual seasonal figures.

    • Ed M
      Posted April 18, 2020 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

      Well said

    • outsider
      Posted April 18, 2020 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

      Obesity and diabetes are not epidemics, let alone pandemics, Javelin, because medical epidemics are by their nature infectious. Even in the hyperbolic figurative sense so often used by campaigners, an epidemic would need to be something spreading suddenly and rapidly. The confusion arises, perhaps, because epidemiologists study wider disease patterns.

  5. Nigl
    Posted April 18, 2020 at 5:40 am | Permalink

    Once again this bloody problem of bureaucracy getting supplies registered and approved and in the mean time people die unnecessarily.

    Why doesn’t PPE issue a standard pattern for manufactures to aim at. Assuming that standard is met, The kit is automatically fit for purpose.

    If there still needs to be QA, authorise people like you to test a sample.

    Strewth. People are suffering because of a shortage. Who suffers more.?

    Those without or those with possibly a few that aren’t boiler plated. I know what I would prefer.

    • Alan Jutson
      Posted April 18, 2020 at 6:59 am | Permalink


      I agree, for once we have politicians acting fast, making decisions, and willing to spend what it takes, on the other we seem to have the usual nonsense from those who hide in the background dragging their feet.

      Do they not realise that before you make samples you require a specification, a bill of quantities, or a pattern which would be acceptable that you can then meet.

    • BeebTax
      Posted April 18, 2020 at 7:31 am | Permalink

      We’ve been promised a cutting of quangos and red tape time and again. Sadly no government here has actually made serious progress in doing it. Even now we’re leaving the EU, the government still wants to keep a lot of the bureaucracy and regulation.

    • bigneil(newercomp)
      Posted April 18, 2020 at 11:10 am | Permalink

      ” bloody problem of bureaucracy” – People who have only ever sat behind a desk have absolutely NO idea of the real world or what disruption they cause. They think everything stops when they go home.

    • Henry Neild
      Posted April 18, 2020 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

      Why can’t PPE be sterilised and used again – I believe it is in other industries. It sounds odd that it should be disposed.

      • anon
        Posted April 20, 2020 at 12:02 am | Permalink

        US is doing so with sterlising equipment built for it. Perhaps we should order one!

  6. Lifelogic
    Posted April 18, 2020 at 5:40 am | Permalink

    The government daily Coronavirus update are very irritating. Usually daft journalists questions. The ones that are less daft rarely get any answer. Endless repetition, lots of diversion, avoiding answering questions using pathetic diversions lots of waffle with some blatant lies. Annoying phrases like “follow ‘the’ science” and “protect ‘our’ NHS”, “each of these deaths was a person an individual loved and mourned …….” guff. But then so many Government Minister sound like dim primary school teachers – May was brilliant at it.

    They even brought up Edward Jenner and the Small Pox Vaccine yesterday. Needless to say Jenner was initially rubbished by the clergy, establishment “experts”, most of the medical profession establishment, some senior members of the Royal Society and politicians. Such is so often the fate of people like this (Darwin, Ignaz Semmelweis, Edward Mellanby and very many others). Interestingly Jenner was also the first to describe the brood parasitism of the common cuckoo. Real science is so often about observing, thinking and some common sense. Alas sense is not very common. Especially in politicians, the clergy and many professional “unions” with their vested interests.

    • BeebTax
      Posted April 18, 2020 at 7:15 am | Permalink

      I turn off the daily briefing as soon as the questions start , as most of the journalists just want to make cheap jabs at the government or obtain a comment they can turn into a sensational doom-laden headline..

    • Richard1
      Posted April 18, 2020 at 8:26 am | Permalink

      The expression ‘the science’ is one which should be looked at askance in future. Every day a new expert comes in with a dramatically different conclusion on the virus. Yesterday a paediatrician called mr Costello dominated the airwaves rubbishing the government and its current scientific advisers. What the crisis has shown is that well-intentioned and dedicated experts can disagree radically. There is no ‘the science’.

      We’ve heard far too much use of this expression in the context of bad policy being foisted on us over the years by global warming hysteria. The push for diesel for example was justified by ‘the science’. Likewise all manner of taxes regulations and subsidies which have had little actual effect as intended.

      We need rigour and scepticism. And to recognise that we live in an uncertain world.

    • Hope
      Posted April 18, 2020 at 8:55 am | Permalink

      I think the journalists have been told to be compliant. No useful searching questions of govt based on fact and law.

      Unfortunately Dr Whitty with a distinguished record needs to be asked if we can trust his judgement when he is so easily influenced/corrupted to give Gove’s daughter a test before critical front line staff.
      Under demand for testing Hancock and PHE dullards claimed. Might that be because testing centres require 200 mile round trips for NHS staff! Centralised drive throughs. What idiot thought and decided this would work and that it would not cause extra work for police to check journeys! Some having tests sent to Germany because they have a quicker turn around time?

      Why has Johnson, again, broke isolation rules by travelling and staying at second home, did he not learn from flouting the law/rules first time around? After all he sanctioned the strap line for to stay at home, social distancing etc! His girlfriend has what e cause to break the law to stay at Chequers as well when her current principle address is Downing Street, same questions for Jenerick. His response needs investigating.

      Snooper charter to look at out computers, house arrest, curtailment of free speech, Relationship and sex education act to brainwash children of tender years to accept anti scientific biological facts that a man can be a woman etc. Now clapp when told by the govt. is this North Korea?

      • Stred
        Posted April 19, 2020 at 7:16 am | Permalink

        What idiot thought that a centralised huge testing lab in Milton Keynes was the answer, with commandeered testing machines taken from university labs where there were trained staff living in the area. We learn that the machines have not been used, perhaps because of inadequate staff happening to live near the central lab.

    • John E
      Posted April 18, 2020 at 10:05 am | Permalink

      The press conferences should be cut back to three a week on Mon, Wed, Fri.
      The ministers and press have nothing new to say that requires a daily press conference. It was a bad idea and they should stop digging the hole deeper.

      Assuming that ministers are allowed to make any decision while Boris is away of course.

    • Man of Kent
      Posted April 18, 2020 at 11:41 am | Permalink

      My particular hate is the graph displayed daily showing how well we are supposed to be doing compared with the USA .

      No account is taken of the population size of the countries shown .
      The number of Covid deaths is shown NOT the number of deaths per million of population , so the USA curve looks terrible .

      If you add together all the Western countries shown [populations roughly equal ] then we are performing poorly compared with the USA .

      A simple check on the death rates in countries with lockdown like us shows our rates are higher than say Sweden .
      It seems that the harder the lockdown rules the higher the death rate .
      Definitely not the line/ propaganda being pushed by our Government .

      Such a shame that we are being treated as idiots .
      The fact is that we do not know , we have so few facts – except that PHE is the Quango responsible and has been found to be totally unprepared , as has the main board of the NHS .
      The politicians are now having to take responsibility for their failures and look weak in doing so .

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted April 18, 2020 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

        We are being informed by people who are not always the sharpest.

        “They do their very best, I’m afraid”

        • UK Qanon
          Posted April 18, 2020 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

          “News” is not just what happens, it is what a fairly small group of people decide is ‘news’. Keep well away from the MSM.

          • glen cullen
            Posted April 18, 2020 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

            wise words indeed

      • zorro
        Posted April 18, 2020 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

        The graphs are completely naff and they still salivate over the public transport one!


  7. Al
    Posted April 18, 2020 at 5:40 am | Permalink

    The buyers in the public sector are the problem, since they may buy them but they aren’t distributing them.

    The Mayor of London apparently wants to make transport drivers into vectors, since they aren’t being supplied with PPE, and the buses are now free. We know because after going on furlough we passed our unused PPE onto the local drivers, who were quite grateful since its being left up to them to find their own.

    Since PPE, particularly masks, are worn primarily to protect others from the wearer if they are an asymptomatic carrier it seems the Mayor is not particularly concerned about passenger safety.

  8. agricola
    Posted April 18, 2020 at 5:48 am | Permalink

    Surely there are specifications both for material and design that can be followed by anyone interested in making PPE.

    The regular makers should know the identity and location of users of PPE. It would seem to be a matter of ramping up manufacture to meet the increase in demand.

    It suggests to me that there never was a stored stockpile awaiting a disaster like Covid 19 or similar. This combined with the inability to centrally administer the situation seems to be at the centre of the problem. Having people of goodwill running around in their cars trying to do their bit is understandably welcome but not the answer. It sounds like a Dunkirk in the making. To me it looks like a purchasing system failure with competing interests to obtain stocks. Long ago the purchasing of consumables in the NHS in its widest sense should have been centralised and professionalised. It is not a job for the amateurs in government and the NHS who appear to be at the centre of the problem.

    • IanT
      Posted April 18, 2020 at 8:43 am | Permalink

      Some things are centralised within the MHS but they tend to be focused on policy. There are about 150 NHS Trusts in this country and they are semi-autonomous, large local fiefdoms that generally set their own local purchasing policies and manage their own budgets. Most people think of the NHS as a single body but this is in many ways a fallacy.

      When you deal with the NHS as a supplier, you find that you need both central ‘approval’ and local ‘sign-off’. I have not dealt with them for over 20 years but I doubt anything has changed. Even when the NHS purchases something centrally (as in my case) – you still have to get out to individual Trusts to “encourage” them to actually use something that’s already been paid for. It involved a great deal of travel and frustration. The majority of businesses I dealt with were far easier than the ‘NHS’. So I am not surprised at all that NHS Trusts are struggling with supply issues, they are simply not geared up for rapid change.

      And of course we then have GP Surgeries – hundreds (thousands?) of small businesses (e.g. private partnerships) – where very good doctors may not be as great managers or have time to plan their logistics or enough foresight to order sufficient PPE.

      Overall – a complete nightmare for any Government trying to manage this tangled web from on high and get some kind of rapid result.

      • Stred
        Posted April 19, 2020 at 7:09 am | Permalink

        There you have it in four paragraphs.

  9. Lifelogic
    Posted April 18, 2020 at 5:54 am | Permalink

    The Telegraph reports that deaths in Care Homes are actually about 7,500. I suspect this is about right plus some other deaths at home and elsewhere and the delays in reporting. The true number of UK victims must be about 25,000 already.

    We seem to be doing rather less well in containment, treatment and mortality per head than nearly everywhere else.

    Plus we have the appallingly badly run government corona virus, business continuation loan scheme. This really needs to be sorted. I have managed to submit one application (no response (over 10 days) nor time scale is being given). Two banks just do not respond at all, no application forms forthcoming and they seem to be virtually uncontactable, one more bank had now sent the forms and I am finally now working on it. Load of daft and irrelevant information is being demanded to slow up the process. Difficult to do sensible cashflows if you do not even know when you will be allowed to open again!

    • Lifelogic
      Posted April 18, 2020 at 6:00 am | Permalink

      This 25K of deaths would roughly agree with the 6.000+ excess death given for week 14 and probably slightly more in weeks 15 and 16. The deaths rising at about 1400 a day (hospital, care home + any other virus deaths). This rate has at least peaked now it seems and is slowly coming down.

  10. SM
    Posted April 18, 2020 at 5:55 am | Permalink

    John, if I worked ‘on the factory floor’ in a PPE manufacturing company, would I be considered an ‘essential worker’ and hence be allowed to travel possibly some miles to and from home?

    • bigneil(newercomp)
      Posted April 18, 2020 at 10:59 am | Permalink

      Can’t see why you would not be an “essential worker” SM. The BBC radio presenters are. Vitally important that they drive to work to sit on a chair and carry on broadcasting the same questions/drivel, with fanatical people on the phone-ins screaming that anyone looking out of their window is spreading the virus, a murderer and should be shot. Anyone saying a sensible view always gets a convenient “bad line” and is cut off. The Biased Brainwashing Company has just switched from Anti-Brexit to this.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted April 19, 2020 at 6:03 am | Permalink

        Indeed and even now they are keeping up their exaggerated climate alarmism agenda in the background.

      • Alan Jutson
        Posted April 19, 2020 at 7:34 am | Permalink


        Yes non stop Brexit focus for 3 years, now not a mention for 3 months, anyone would have thought it was perhaps a manufactured problem by the BBC so little do we hear of it now.

        Lack of PPE is now the non stop focus for these Presenters..

        Yes we know its important, but really there is a world wide shortage, have they not worked this out yet.

  11. Richard1
    Posted April 18, 2020 at 5:57 am | Permalink

    It is difficult to understand why this is such a problem. The number of people in hospital with the Wuhan virus is a fraction of that originally feared, and is falling. NHS Nightingale is practically empty. The NHS has dramatically cut back care for anything other than Wuhan virus. Cancer referrals are down 80% – not because there is less cancer. The NHS employs approx 70 people for each person in hospital. The armed services have dedicated 20k people to provide logistics support – that’s one for every hospital patient.

    Perhaps the problem isn’t really nationwide there are occasional shortages and these are blown massively out of proportion? Or perhaps the management of public health really is as inept as many of the private companies which have been trying to offer support, eg on testing, have been saying repeatedly.

  12. Mark B
    Posted April 18, 2020 at 6:04 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    I have spent time each day on this problem for the local organisations that report insufficient supplies and stocks.

    Why are you doing this ? Should it not be the responsibility of those who do the ordering ?

    There clearly has been a large demand for PPE, especially for face masks. You see people with face masks that will keep filter dust particles out but not viruses. These people, through fear and ignorance, are creating a shortage. This fear is generated by an irresponsible media keen to generate a story and pressure a government into action.

    I posted a little while ago the importance of keeping things calm. In a fire situation it is not the fire that will kill you, it is the smoke and panic. The government should have been calm and measured and not allowed anticipated death rates to be published. It should have explained that there is a risk to the populace and it need to take action.

    When this lockdown was first proposed, it was because we needed to, “save the NHS” from being overloaded. Now that this has been avoided we now hear that for the lockdown to be lifted we must meet 5 criteria. When reading the criteria there is no fixed targets and all are subjective. It is if they are saying, “We will release you from house arrest once we think it is OK.” This is unacceptable ! The goal posts have been moved and the conditions now can only be met once someone deems it so. There is no discernable end point, and no end date. Basically, the government and its advisors (experts) are making this up as they are going along.


    • Hope
      Posted April 18, 2020 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

      Mark, Well said. The posts have changed three times by my count four if you include the chief scientific expert who claimed it was a low to moderate risk for U.K. He is on the daily propaganda panel. No rational person would trust his view with thousands of people lives.

    • Stred
      Posted April 19, 2020 at 7:05 am | Permalink

      The face masks with a filter will keep out aerosol containing the virus but not the freely floating viruses. They’re helpful but not when in a position with high viral load like the young Chinese doctor who died after discovering the disease, or our ITU staff.

  13. Shirley M
    Posted April 18, 2020 at 6:05 am | Permalink

    I am surprised that PPE equipment is made for very short term use and then thrown away. Is it recyclable? Surely it would be beneficial to the pocket, and the environment, if it could be disinfected and used again.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted April 18, 2020 at 6:55 am | Permalink

      This is certainly possible by redesigning them. It might be cheaper and more environmental but might not be. It depends on the particular item, the design and how many times it might get re-used.

    • BOF
      Posted April 18, 2020 at 7:02 am | Permalink

      Exactly the question I ask. Surely they can be cleaned to a high standard to remove all pathogens? As I understand it after a period of time, the virus will not survive anyway.

    • steve
      Posted April 18, 2020 at 9:14 am | Permalink


      “Surely it would be beneficial to the pocket, and the environment, if it could be disinfected and used again.”

      But then the big corporates would make slightly less profit……you see the problem.

    • Sharon Jagger
      Posted April 18, 2020 at 9:48 am | Permalink

      Shirley M

      I think everything in hospitals are single use. Even unused and unopened swabs are allegedly disposed of, as are the instruments used in operations.

      There was a time when everything was laundered overnight and re-used.

      But this is typical of our throwaway society that we’ve been led to accept.

    • bigneil(newercomp)
      Posted April 18, 2020 at 11:32 am | Permalink

      Good God Shirley – FAR too sensible and money saving. Our govt would NEVER go for it. They love to waste our taxes on HS2 and throw our cash away to foreign countries, all while dragging the UK into being the next 3rd world country – or maybe even the first 4th one.

    Posted April 18, 2020 at 6:24 am | Permalink

    These shortages of PPE are deliberate and designed to harm this government.

    When will the Tory party understand that the Labour-unionised controlled public sector in all its forms despise you, will conspire against you to do you harm and have no qualms in hurting others in their attempts to do so

    The public sector exists to protect itself from harm. That is its primary function. Why can’t the Tory party managers see that?

    The BBC, a defiant member of Labour’s alliance of leftist coalition, interviewed two NHS staff members yesterday and directed their ire and anger of a Tory PM and a Tory Minister. Both NHS staff members where Labour members. The BBC and the NHS are coordinating their attacks on a Tory PM

    And the NHS is using this issue for political ends, to expand its influence and to place itself beyond reform

    And the Tory government is assisting the NHS in that process

    The NHS is run by managers who act politically. I have no doubt that what we are seeing is a carefully constructed political game designed to inculcate uncritical loyalty to a bankrupt, monolithic behemoth that is badly in need of reform. The taxpayer is told to finance this deliberately wasteful organisation

    The government should introduce charges for NHS use in the way the BBC is funded. Each month each adult pays an amount of cash from their bank as they would do for the ethically bankrupt BBC. Labour’s plan to create a free-lunch culture has been highly successful. If the British people adored the NHS they will surely pay for it and would have no qualms in doing so.

    Will we hear clapping in the streets when each adult will have to pay a NHS charge of £25 PCM? Erm, no.

    Give it to me for free, and hand the bill to someone else.

    I don’t clap because I refuse to be conditioned and controlled for political ends. That way lies North Korea, China and every other authoritarian state that’s taken people and crushed their freedoms and their bodies

    • BOF
      Posted April 18, 2020 at 7:05 am | Permalink

      Agreed, Dominic.

    • Everhopeful
      Posted April 18, 2020 at 7:07 am | Permalink

      Spot on as always!
      Well done.

    • BeebTax
      Posted April 18, 2020 at 7:38 am | Permalink

      Well put.

      BBC Radio 4, after running its false headline story yesterday (that an NHS Trust chief executive had called them to ask for Barbour’s telephone number), gave a very short correction about 15 minutes into the Today programme, this morning. That’s the equivalent of a newspaper printing a front page headline one day, and putting a one line correction hidden in the obituary notices the following day.

    • Sea Warrior
      Posted April 18, 2020 at 7:42 am | Permalink

      I too find this public clapping a bit North Korean for my liking.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted April 18, 2020 at 9:26 am | Permalink


      • Anonymous
        Posted April 18, 2020 at 9:45 am | Permalink

        I agree. It is politically incorrect not to so I applaud only those who are in the front line of the COVID-19 battle of whom I have nothing but respect and gratitude.

        The vast majority of the NHS is not dealing with COVID-19 in that way and probably no more than the rest of us key workers.

        The NHS has been hijacked for political purposes in order to make this country more socialist than it already is. Soon NHS and state jobs will be the only ones worth having.

        Small business owners would have been better treated and better off now had they lived a life of crime. Quite literally.

      • Original Chris
        Posted April 18, 2020 at 10:16 am | Permalink

        I saw two videos of the clapping on Westminster bridge. Police out in force, and very large number of police cars parked, flashing their lights with officers outside their vehicles clapping. Social distancing didn’t come into it, nor gatherings of more than a very few people. Police have arrested people elsewhere for this size of gathering, yet they were among the main perpetrators, including apparently Cressida Dick. One rule for those who control us, another for the rest of us.

      • glen cullen
        Posted April 18, 2020 at 10:37 am | Permalink

        ….and soon the police will arrest you for not clapping

        ##stay at home##protect in NHS##clap the NHS

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted April 18, 2020 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

          It’s almost a pity in some cases that they won’t.

          • Edward2
            Posted April 18, 2020 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

            Martin shows his ‘ do as you are told or else’ attitude.
            Rather than individuals make up your own mind what you want to do.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted April 19, 2020 at 6:52 am | Permalink

            Martin allows himself to be flippant sometimes.

        • zorro
          Posted April 18, 2020 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

          As neighbours inform on you as they clap and see which doors are shut. Mind control at its finest…. please tell the government that East Germany was not a model state


    • clive
      Posted April 18, 2020 at 8:17 am | Permalink

      Very well written Sir , and I agree with your sentiments re clapping .

    • Caterpillar
      Posted April 18, 2020 at 8:19 am | Permalink


      I agree with you that the left’s contempt for the Tory party could drive behaviour whatever the consequences, but I cannot believe the Tories don’t understand this as you suggest. Perhaps the Tories have drifted left, don’t care or simply have no defence – there is no Sir Keith Joseph.

    • steve
      Posted April 18, 2020 at 9:13 am | Permalink


      “Give it to me for free, and hand the bill to someone else.”

      … China for example.

      With ownership comes responsibility.

    • Ian terry
      Posted April 18, 2020 at 9:17 am | Permalink


      Very well put. In a lot of peoples perception, totally correct.

      If reforms do not come out of this, then it will be time to throw your hand in, walk away and weep. Throwing money at it is not the answer.

    • Sharon Jagger
      Posted April 18, 2020 at 9:52 am | Permalink


      “ These shortages of PPE are deliberate and designed to harm this government.

      When will the Tory party understand that the Labour-unionised controlled public sector in all its forms despise you, will conspire against you to do you harm and have no qualms in hurting others in their attempts to do so

      The public sector exists to protect itself from harm. That is its primary function. Why can’t the Tory party managers see that?”

      I couldn’t have put it better myself. I’ve been mentally writing an email to my MP but couldn’t quite get the words right….this has helped! Thanks!

    • DaveK
      Posted April 18, 2020 at 10:44 am | Permalink

      If only your surname was Cummings.

    • a-tracy
      Posted April 18, 2020 at 11:49 am | Permalink

      Sara Gorton, the head of health at Unison, said:

      If gowns run out, staff in high-risk areas may well decide that it’s no longer safe for them to work.

      Headlines in the Guardian two Unions have treated in the last hour that staff may walk out.

      NO, NO, NO – John this is not good enough – which hospital staff are threatening this exactly! As potential patients this weekend we want to KNOW where not to go! the media is getting above itself now and your government needs to get a grip on this before people like me start to blow a stack and it’s brewing.

      WHICH HOSPITAL HAS NO PPE TODAY. Which hospital has a good stock tell me and I’ll move it for you today.

    • DavidJ
      Posted April 18, 2020 at 11:58 am | Permalink

      Excellent points. After some experience of the NHS I regard it as unfit for purpose in many ways. Unbridled praise will encourage its controllers to more of the same when it really needs a top to bottom reform.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted April 18, 2020 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

        That is my experience too. Though there are undoubtedly many excellent, dedicated, brave, delightful and hard working front lines staff. The top down system, structure, the way it is funded, rationed and run as a top down state (free at the point of use) monopoly is a disaster.

        It can never be efficient as currently structured. It also kills most competition and most innovation and means far less money gets into healthcare. Perhaps the reason we had so few intensive care beds per head at the start of this pandemic.

        We have a competition authority but they clearly cannot act on grossly unfair competition from the state sector (the main source of it). This especially in health care, schooling, BBC broadcasting, housing, energy, long term care, refuse, planning, building control ….

  15. jerry
    Posted April 18, 2020 at 6:31 am | Permalink

    During WW2 when the the forces, ARP and the police etc all needed tin helmets, any factory capable of pressing steel sheet of suitable dimension and gauge was thus a supplier of tin helmets, or at least they were if not already using their presses for other essential work.

    So a simple question of the govt, how many suitable factories (or ones that can be quickly adapted) has the govt requisitioned since the beginning of March to produce NHS grade PPE?

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted April 18, 2020 at 7:11 am | Permalink

      What “factories”?

    • bill brown
      Posted April 18, 2020 at 8:50 am | Permalink


      Interesting but absolute nonsense

    • John E
      Posted April 18, 2020 at 10:10 am | Permalink

      You’re forgetting that we are a post-industrial country. We don’t have factories as they produce CO2. We buy stuff from abroad and then tell them off for their CO2 output and pollution.

      This approach that assumes we can always buy stuff works fine until it really doesn’t work at all.

      • forthurst
        Posted April 18, 2020 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

        Is this the right time to repeal the Climate Change Act? We need to start making stuff again and to do that, every impediment inserted by government must be removed immediately.

        Perhaps the government should instruct the BBC to reveal that the whole thing was a hoax designed to destroy Western civilisation by transferring all productive capacity to the east whilst enriching thieving banksters through carbon trading? I’m not holding my breath when we have petticoat government on grave issues of public import.

      • Pip
        Posted April 18, 2020 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

        Exactly. An insane job export scheme with no sensible scientific justification whatsoever. Just like electric cars it does not even reduce C02 output. It just moves it and on balance increases it. Not that this plant food is actually a problem anyway.

    • anon
      Posted April 20, 2020 at 12:17 am | Permalink

      Or just placed orders with cash deposit and a delivery address, via the army.

  16. Stred
    Posted April 18, 2020 at 6:37 am | Permalink

    The news daily is about some members of the NHS staff who have died after contracting this virus after working with inadequate ppe. Had they been working for a private firm, the directors would have been facing charges.
    Yesterday a senior consultant and retired nurse who had gone back to help his colleagues were the unfortunate casualties, along with the many patients and residents of nursing homes infected by staff who were unknowingly infections.
    In the intensive care wards abroad the staff are provided with full respiratory filters, sealed visors and suits. Some surgeons on one news report were using the same masks that could be bought for dust protection.
    For once my medic Mrs and I had to agree with Mayor Khan that wearing a mask of the type worn in other countries should be required for passengers on the crowded underground and buses. What is the point of having the police chasing and fining people who are using parks and beaches with fresh air all around while telling essential workers to use public transport where someone can cough or even breathe and pass the virus right along the compartment? Then we had Grant Shapp saying the usual excuse that they had to be guided by the scientists. Presumably the scientists like the ones working for WHO or PHE who have been telling us that they don’t work and can make matters worse. The real reason of course is that there are not enough and the NHS wants any that are available. What would be wrong with passengers wearing a double handkerchief or homemade mask to prevent droplets spraying everywhere?

  17. Ian Wragg
    Posted April 18, 2020 at 6:38 am | Permalink

    The armed forces. Probably the only public sector that works
    No union, no noise. Just doing the job. Well done lads and lasses.

    • Sea Warrior
      Posted April 18, 2020 at 6:47 am | Permalink

      Yep – they’re predictably good. I hope Sunak, when he comes to rejig public finances, excludes them from having to find ‘savings’. This crisis also shows the importance of keeping a large army. Ours is, I think, too small.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted April 18, 2020 at 6:50 am | Permalink

      Alas defence procurement is appallingly run and governments seem to like sending them into various counterproductive and hugely damaging wars – sometimes done on blatant lies. Plus we have the countless lawyers and litigation system endlessly attacking them and the appalling criminal NI proceedings even now, that the government seems totally unwilling to stop.

    • Cheshire Girl
      Posted April 18, 2020 at 7:25 am | Permalink

      I agree about the Armed Forces.

      I also know of others in the public sector, who work very hard.

    • jerry
      Posted April 18, 2020 at 7:44 am | Permalink

      @Ian Wragg; You mean the armed forces that are banned from having a Trade Union, banned from going on strike, were refusing to carry out an order means a Charge and perhaps even a charge of Mutiny?

      • MWB
        Posted April 18, 2020 at 10:38 am | Permalink

        “were refusing” ?

      • L Jones
        Posted April 18, 2020 at 10:49 am | Permalink

        You obviously don’t understand the commitment and pride in their country that people serving in our armed forces feel. Do you understand the concept of the word ”honour”?
        And – yes. I DO know what I’m talking about.

        • jerry
          Posted April 18, 2020 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

          @L Jones; So everyone feels the dame way? Isn’t that a little to like N. Korea…

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted April 18, 2020 at 7:55 am | Permalink

      If the European Union, and like-minded projects around the world were successful in their ultimate aims, then there would be no job for them to do.

      I suspect that you don’t want a world without violence though.

      • jerry
        Posted April 18, 2020 at 8:50 am | Permalink

        @MiC; The “World Government?” debate was yesterday!…

      • Fred H
        Posted April 18, 2020 at 9:27 am | Permalink

        You mean like in China?

      • SM
        Posted April 18, 2020 at 9:51 am | Permalink

        Wow, a comment from MiC that is both idiotic and nasty in one go!

        Seems, sadly, that the combined efforts of all those ‘like-minded’ projects can’t overcome the tribal, religious and corruption-addicted groups across the globe who cause ongoing tragedies.

      • Ian Wragg
        Posted April 18, 2020 at 10:05 am | Permalink

        Our armed forces help prevent violence, your beloved EU being a very dangerous entity.
        Cosying up to China and Russia. Why don’t you move over there if it’s so good.

      • BOF
        Posted April 18, 2020 at 11:10 am | Permalink

        We need our armed forces, under the full control of the UK Government, to protect us from communist dictatorships.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted April 18, 2020 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

          What, ones which might order you to stay in your homes, you mean?

        • jerry
          Posted April 18, 2020 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

          @BOF; Best we also leave NATO then…

          Yes the armed forces would indeed protect us from communist dictatorships, but they will also protect us from any threat from the hard right too.

          • BOF
            Posted April 18, 2020 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

            Remembering of course, that it is the communist regimes that murder and starve their own citizens in tens and hundreds of millions.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted April 18, 2020 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

            Well, it seems that the Chinese communist regime only allowed about five thousand of its people to be killed by coronavirus.

            Are you sure, BOF?

          • Edward2
            Posted April 18, 2020 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

            You actually believe what they tell you?

          • jerry
            Posted April 19, 2020 at 7:26 am | Permalink

            @BOF; Political extremism is a pendulum, swing to far either way and you get all the problems of totalitarianism, left or right. Of course those the closest to the top of the swing never see or understand this as they have their backs to their own (equal but opposite) reflection…

        • Margaret Howard
          Posted April 18, 2020 at 4:36 pm | Permalink


          Communist dictatorship? You mean American kowtowing.

          • Edward2
            Posted April 18, 2020 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

            Well we know what side you are on Margaret

        • UK Qanon
          Posted April 18, 2020 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

          We need to get rid of the Common Purpose BS which has crept into the Armed forces management.

      • dixie
        Posted April 18, 2020 at 11:14 am | Permalink

        @MiC setting aside your pretence at telepathy, the only people I have seen on here wishing harm and hardship on anyone else has been Andy and yourself. In case you forget I refer you to your comment of 31 March 2020 at 09:31 concerning those who disagree with you on illegal immigrants and it being a “pity they can’t be identified in the queue for ventilators”.

    • Know-Dice
      Posted April 18, 2020 at 8:49 am | Permalink

      But the Mod has consistently let down our forces by not having equipment available and to a suitable standard for the missions they have been ordered to undertake. Typically lack of suitable kit and clothing for missions in Iraq and Afghanistan and guns that jam when there’s a bit of sand around.

  18. Sea Warrior
    Posted April 18, 2020 at 6:44 am | Permalink

    Post-crisis, I expect to see PPE production on-shored to this country. (The Globalists can suck it up.) I expect to see appropriate stock-piles maintained. (The accountants worried about ‘resources’ and ‘tying up capital’ can suck it up.) I expect to see a goodly proportion of PPE to be WASHABLE. (The throw-away-everything crowd can suck it up.) And I expect reserve manufacturing capacity maintained, so we can cope with a pandemic. (The there’s-no-votes-in-contingency-planning crowd can suck it up.) And I also want to see our political ‘elite’ apologise for being so unprepared for a foreseeable event. They have failed us.

  19. duffle
    Posted April 18, 2020 at 7:04 am | Permalink

    We should have been prepared and we were not- if it wasn’t Covid-19 then it could have been any other virus sickness or plague- or indeed at another time it could be Nuclear fallout from war or accident- and just how prepared are we for any of that should it happen? PPE is only the start and if we can’t even manage that..then

  20. George Brooks.
    Posted April 18, 2020 at 7:05 am | Permalink

    The answer is, as you have set out in you last paragraph.

    In 2016 the government had a dry run to check our level of preparation in the event of a pandemic. PPE came under the spotlight and the options were to stockpile our rely on supply chains. With Hammond looking after the books it is not surprising that stockpiling was rejected.

    PHE, NHS Providers whoever buys this kit should concentrate their effort on our home production companies both big and small and from what you have said they appear to have been slow off the mark.

  21. MPC
    Posted April 18, 2020 at 7:12 am | Permalink

    No economists on Newsnight last night but 2 senior health practitioners. Neither was asked to confirm the age distribution and other key aspects of those being treated for the virus in hospitals – ethnicity, underlying health conditions, type of any underlying conditions etc. All of which would help define a gradual easing of this appallingly destructive economic lockdown.

  22. George Brooks.
    Posted April 18, 2020 at 7:16 am | Permalink

    There is a heck of a lot in what Dominic says. The whole party needs to wakeup and act

    Posted April 18, 2020 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    The NHS is primarily a political organisation. It responds politically, it acts politically and behaves politically.

    The PPE shortage issue is deliberate, it’s contrived and it’s designed to portray a Tory government as being criminally responsible for harm that may befall NHS employees as a result of the shortage of such protective equipment

    BBC interview NHS staff. One nurse is a Labour activist. One doctor is a Labour candidate. Both direct their bilge at this government. BBC-NHS alliance. Both desperate to protect themselves from reform and expand their influence

    And we’re expected, demanded to show our loyalty in public to these organisations that behave in such an appalling manner

    The British people are of course naive to such vile politics. So easily deceived. So easily herded. So easily persuaded. So easily triggered

  24. Nigl
    Posted April 18, 2020 at 7:48 am | Permalink

    Ps. Shortages are now being acknowledged previously denied by your Ministers. What else are we being ‘misled’ on?

    • JoolsB
      Posted April 18, 2020 at 9:00 am | Permalink

      Misled? You’re being kind Nigel. Why Hancock is still in post is unbelievable. His performance has been woeful and it’s come to the point where we can’t believe a word he says. Unfortunately the Government have shown themselves to be totally clueless and incompetent. And now they insult us further with refusing to discuss an end to this lockdown because apparently they can’t agree amongst themselves. Headless chickens or what?

    • steve
      Posted April 18, 2020 at 9:09 am | Permalink


      I don’t think they are deliberately misleading us, more likely they have to do a very tricky balancing act. On one hand trying not to cause a panic, whilst on the other getting held to ransom by suppliers.

    • glen cullen
      Posted April 18, 2020 at 9:12 am | Permalink

      We are being ‘misled’ as to why we’re still in lockdown

      Politicans rapidly trying to finds reasons and save face

      • steve
        Posted April 18, 2020 at 8:23 pm | Permalink


        I don’t think it’s to save face, I think it’s more likely to save lives.

        If they lift lockdown now, the virus will rampage.

    • Fred H
      Posted April 18, 2020 at 9:26 am | Permalink

      who is feeding this information? Senior NHS figures, NHS staff/union? Government/Ministerial staff? Civil servants? These truths or porkies need to be traced back and action taken.

    • bigneil(newercomp)
      Posted April 18, 2020 at 10:35 am | Permalink

      What else are we being misled on? Lots. WE have to stay in – under threat of being stopped, arrested, fined, possibly jailed and a lifetime criminal record. Yet the police meet up for their shift, 2 in a car ( so much for THEIR distancing) – and merrily go about the roads looking for the newly designated ” Public enemy number 1″ – the public themselves. Have the police been immunised? Apparently so. Not seen any reports of THEM catching it. ( Quick Carruthers, get one of your 20 taxpayer funded assistants to make up an article to flood the MSM with – the brainwashing MUST go on).

      “The NHS is under strain” – yet virtually daily they can send ambulances to Dover to meet the latest bunch of freeloading financial burdens to arrive ( fleeing the wars raging in Europe). Where are those people sent ? To hotels? – to be rewarded for their crime of trying to enter illegally – or is that why the Border Farce FETCH them – so it is no longer a crime?

      Planes arrive – people packed in – NO checks there !!!!! No distancing on the planes !!! Recycled air to help spread anything they have.

      And now – reports of a vaccine – will we be FORCED to have it – with tracker microchip ( FREE WITH EVERY JAB ) – or else? I’d opt for the “or else” – I’ve had most of my time, seen this country deliberately destroyed, and it will only get worse. As the wonderful “multicultural diversity” idiocy continues to turn this place into a 3rd world crime-ridden hell the “or else” looks – increasingly – a better option.

      This is getting more and more like “Control the masses”.
      – – – – — – – – – – – – – –
      I know this is highly unlikely to get posted – waiting in “moderation” for hours/days/eras on end. But at least I’ve put what I – and plenty of others – see is happening

    • a-tracy
      Posted April 18, 2020 at 11:36 am | Permalink

      Nigl, they shipped in millions and millions of pounds worth of disposable supplies, one care home uses 200 masks per day I read, this is where it all falls down!

      This disposable culture that has appeared in our nationalised social care system needs a re-set and quickly, I’m surprised the eco-warriors didn’t spot this waste earlier. Each place of care needs sanitisers for masks, goggles and visors and large industrial washing and drying machines. Gowns need making from hard wearing frequent wash and rewear fabrics to a high quality, high neck, long sleeves, lightweight but durable and resistant to moisture and fluids.

    • outsider
      Posted April 18, 2020 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

      Dear Nigl, There is a growing gap between the lockdown campaign propaganda and the science it intends to uphold, because campaigners habitually think that ends justify means.
      eg. Lockdown propaganda says anyone can carry the virus without symptoms and infect others. The experts say that, even when universally available, testing will only be carried out on people showing symptoms;.
      eg. Lockdown propaganda stresses that the virus can be fatal for people of any age. It is not a lie but, as on April 17, just 108 people under 40 had sadly died, including some poor souls already living afflicted lives. There were 12,003 deaths among the over 60s , the group that has certainly been undercounted.

    • The Prangwizard
      Posted April 18, 2020 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

      Just about everything. Especially the competence of the NHS in saving people and government’s ability to get it to improve. They’d much rather order us about as a smokescreen.

  25. Bob Dixon
    Posted April 18, 2020 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    Operating equipment is sterilised and reused. Why carn’t PPE be sterilised?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted April 18, 2020 at 8:33 am | Permalink

      It clearly could be designed to be reused this may or may not make sense depending on the gear and indeed on the demand.

    • steve
      Posted April 18, 2020 at 9:05 am | Permalink

      Bob Dixon

      “Why carn’t PPE be sterilised?”

      Because most of it is made in China and of cheap disposable material to maximise corporate profit ……autoclave that stuff and it will simply disintegrate.

      Unfortunately it isn’t the same as sterilising bed sheets, if it was there wouldn’t be a problem.


    • Sakara Gold
      Posted April 18, 2020 at 9:50 am | Permalink

      Being made of plastic, it would melt in an autoclave

    • glen cullen
      Posted April 18, 2020 at 10:44 am | Permalink

      The good old days when hospitals where self contained and didn’t sub-contract services…laundry, cleaning & catering etc when we didn’t throw anything away

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted April 18, 2020 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

        That’s a microcosm of communism, don’t you know, Glen?

        Literally everything has to be done by businesses – for money, and nominally run by ex-public schoolboys, but who in fact delegate any real work.

        It is the only reason for which any undertaking is now allowed to exist.

        • Edward2
          Posted April 18, 2020 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

          Under communism public health was dreadful.
          Millions died.

          • bill brown
            Posted April 19, 2020 at 1:54 am | Permalink

            Edward 2
            It again depends on which country you are looking at, it was not the case in Cuba

          • Edward2
            Posted April 19, 2020 at 7:19 am | Permalink

            Any excuse bill.
            Well done.
            Apologist for the millions that died under communism.

          • bill brown
            Posted April 19, 2020 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

            Edward 2

            Pathetic response, stick to the facts

          • Edward2
            Posted April 19, 2020 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

            Not pathetic at all.
            I spoke of millions of deaths caused by dreadful standards of public health in communist countries.
            Facts like millions dying due to poor health caused by slave labour poor housing and starvation.
            In Venuezela life expectancy has fallen by many years due to the communism there.

            And the best you can do is to bring up Cuba.
            Who lock people like prisoners into their own country and have tens of thousands of political prisoners locked up just for criticising Castro.

      • Fred H
        Posted April 18, 2020 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

        and efficient Matrons were God, no four levels of management upwards throwing their tw0 pennyworth in!

        • glen cullen
          Posted April 18, 2020 at 8:23 pm | Permalink


  26. RichardM
    Posted April 18, 2020 at 7:54 am | Permalink

    Your Tory MP neighbour assured the nation only yesterday that there’s enough PPE to meet demand, yet PHE are now advising staff to wear plastic aprons because we are about to run out of gowns! Why does the BBC allow Government ministers to get away with such nonsense !

    • Lifelogic
      Posted April 18, 2020 at 8:32 am | Permalink

      Why do I keep hearing interviews with Jeremy Hunt on the BBC and LBC yesterday (usually making quite sensible points admittedly – despite reading PPE) but why is he never asked about the appallingly inept pandemic planning and the 2016 exercise with the buried results? Does he make it a condition of the interview or are the interviewers just daft?

    • Mark B
      Posted April 18, 2020 at 9:25 am | Permalink

      It use to be the case that, if a Minister knowingly mislead the general public or, repeatedly gave out false information, they would be expected to resign or, be replaced.

      How times have changed.

    • APL
      Posted April 18, 2020 at 10:04 am | Permalink

      RichardM: “Your Tory MP neighbour assured the nation only yesterday that there’s enough PPE to meet demand, .. ”

      Perhaps they should lift the shutdown. And British industry could have a shot at producing the needed equipment. Instead of importing second rate poor quality material from China.

      Even if they order it from China now, it would take a few weeks to arrive on cargo. Yes, less by air.

    • DavidJ
      Posted April 18, 2020 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

      PHE itself has been responsible for many failures, including refusing to cooperate with private companies which would produce a comparison to highlight their incompetence.

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted April 18, 2020 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

      There may be enough to meet demand but if it is being delivered inefficiently then local shortages will occur leading to the problem you mention. For example there were always enough eggs in the country to meet demand but there were none in the supermarkets – the problem wasn’t an egg shortage though that’s what it looked like.

  27. Irene
    Posted April 18, 2020 at 7:58 am | Permalink

    It is a matter of great concern that Exercise Cygnus, the conclusions of which have never been made public, indicated in 2017 that the government was unprepared for what might befall us in the case of a pandemic. Unprepared and unwilling to prepare. Meetings of Nervtag in January and February 2020 highlighted shortages in PPE, and only in March 2020 did they begin rehearsing for situations where stockpiles were exhausted. Cobra was involved too, of course.. The minutes of Nervtag meetings (especially 28.01.2020) are worth reading, if only to see the expert hot air.

    You write “it should be possible to crack this problem”. It must be possible to crack this problem. There are local community groups seeking help from anyone who has a 3D printer. Groups are being set up to stitch gowns together.

    It is nigh on impossible to understand the reasons why the government has not managed to facilitate the manufacture of PPE, The daily press briefings have become a joke now, with the same old same old mantras being spouted. If only Spitting Image still existed.

    • Irene
      Posted April 18, 2020 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

      Have you read them, JR? If so, do you have any opinions that you could share with your readers?

  28. Anonymous
    Posted April 18, 2020 at 8:09 am | Permalink


    This sort of problem is what you get when you kill all the manufacturing jobs and turn us into a nation of hair dressers and talking heads.

    We’ve got blokes with degrees in English Lit who somehow got into flogging dodgy insurance in the City bragging that they’re the nation’s breadwinners, telling everyone else to shut up, without a clue as to why the ‘oiks’ up North delivered rust belt politics when Londoncentric Britain is as rust belt as a washer in a closed down factory. A chuffing great void in the middle called ‘service sector’.

    There’s not a lot we can do to get out of this. We’ve just got to suck it up and I don’t blame any medic who refuses to work.

    At least they have a choice unlike the poor lads we sent to war in the middle east without proper PPE and who died literally in their hundreds.

    In a word we’re f*****.

  29. Iain Moore
    Posted April 18, 2020 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    The WHO has cast doubt on people getting a long lasting immunity to the Wuhan flu, in my ignorance in such matters I therefore presume all the efforts to get a vaccine to it is a waste of time, for why vaccinate when the body can’t work up an immunity to it?

    If the Chinese WHO is correct about this, then to get control of the disease will need us having a state which is run efficiently, to know who is coming into the country, to track down infections, to run testing, to supply protective gear, to inform people where disease hot spots are and so on, but that isn’t the British state, for this virus has exposed how shambolic it is. The people have done their bit, they have dutifully self isolated, but we find the British state is letting the side down, they can’t organise testing, they can’t organise PPE gear, they can’t be bothered to trace infected people, they left our borders wide open to the disease, they can’t even work out which prisoners to release early, I mean, good grief, how hard can it be? You do wonder what good the British state does, or is it just a parasitical organisation that we would be better off without? I suppose in its defense it does run a very good Channel taxi service, and it does give away our money abroad very efficiently.

  30. gregory martin
    Posted April 18, 2020 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    Its time to look in all the cupboards. Human nature is squirrel -like. Its likely that every NHS operative has their own stash of materials ‘just in case’. Its what we do. When collecting a box, well, its better to take another ‘just in case’. Many departments have reduced their work load, patients not attending, on advice or in fear. Its time to re-distribute these ‘secret’ reserves to where they are most needed.
    Even latex gloves can be re-cycled as raw material. Spontex operate such a scheme.

  31. Caterpillar
    Posted April 18, 2020 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    Is there public data on how much and what type of PPE is expected per CV admission and how much is actually being used? Rather like the Govt not being transparent on its epidemic models, its cost-benefit calculations, its Porton Down antibody test results, it feels again that there is very limited transparency. This is extremely worrying as PPE is one of the (finger in the air) conditions for coming out of lockdown.

    • Caterpillar
      Posted April 18, 2020 at 8:42 am | Permalink

      Partial aside:- were NHS ERP changes (e.g. SBS Inventory Management and Wholesale Services) completed? It seemed that some of this included moving towards JIT and reducing local stock holding?

      • Fred H
        Posted April 19, 2020 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

        well the people carrying the virus in the early days/weeks who left China to arrive all over the world became a dramatic example of JIT. JUST IN TIME to kill over 100,000 people and kill the worldwide economies of many countries.

  32. David Price
    Posted April 18, 2020 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    Local manufacturing has been happening which the civil service and NHS management have chosen to ignore, just like they have chosen to ignore the private sector.

    One of my 3D printers has been printing safety visors for the last four weeks in a Green Park hub. I am also a member along with hundreds of others across the country of a volunteer group #printforvictory who stepped up and are producing visors at home and distributing to medics and carers in our local areas. From a standing start on April 1st we hit 4000 visors printed and distributed nationally in around 2 weeks. There are many other voluntary groups also doing what they can to meet the need for PPE.

    While many have been worrying about shortages of pasta, the 3D printing community in the UK have been tackling shortages of filament, acetate sheets, nicker elastic and rubber bands.

    These visors may not be mil or NHS spec but the simple truth is that they are better than the nothing being supplied to medics and carers who need them.

    The government functionaries have been a screaming failure all round. The US dept of Health runs a National Institute of Health which operates a 3D Print Exchange which publishes print specs that have been reviewed for clinical use for PPE and medical devices in short supply.

    From the UK PHE et al we have a big fat zero, though apparently they are setting up a committee/taskforce or whatever.

    • anon
      Posted April 20, 2020 at 12:34 am | Permalink

      Well done.

      The simple truth is that they are better than nothing.

      So why are they are unable to think and act like that?.

      • David Price
        Posted April 20, 2020 at 7:33 am | Permalink

        Beats me, but the situation has certainly highlighted the contrast between the bureaucratic mindset/talkers and the doers/entrepreneurs.

  33. steve
    Posted April 18, 2020 at 9:00 am | Permalink


    A very pertinent topic.

    My instinct tells me there is more to the PPE issue than is generally realised.

    We know that France and Germany elbowed their way in to prime position as regards procurement, it has even been reported that France ‘purloined’ PPE shipments intended for other countries.

    Then factor in the opportunity for China to seize an opportunity, which I have no doubt it has done.

    I have sympathy for our government, but I do think it’s time they came clean about what goes on behind the scenes with procurement and foreign policy.

    Also, I believe that countries behaving aggressively and dishonestly towards ours should not be allowed a vaccine developed and produced by the UK. If they’ve put themselves first and at detriment to the UK – we shouldn’t be helping them in any way.

  34. Ian @Barkham
    Posted April 18, 2020 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    Surely the major problem for Government is its poor grip on what it means to manage.

    From what I understand Government has taken on its shoulders the responsibility to micro-manage some 58,000 health service related outlets. 25,000 of those outlets are private companies working as individual enterprises for their own profit. In round terms that is over 2 million individual workers that now rely of this Government for its daily supply of PPE. How would, could some central panel of MP’s even know at any minute in time the need of all those individuals

    All the while the managers, those that are paid for the delivery of the services, and in some case enjoy the profits and bonuses that come with their position get to sit on their hands and say ‘not me Guv’

    It is the ego of the Political Class’s need to demonstrate the ‘look at me, I am wonderful’ approach that is hindering good management and proper progress. The failure of Government is in its inability to permit people to get on without the overbearing Socialist approach of only your rulers can fix things. There is the suspicion this Government inline with its predecessors is ‘frightened’ of its People.

    • Ian @Barkham
      Posted April 18, 2020 at 10:09 am | Permalink

      The point this Conservatives Government is not getting – that every death is now their fault, every failure of the right PPE is 100% their mistake.

      This Conservative Government is reported to have sent a BA Plan to China to collect 2.5million face masks. While refusing UK’s industries help on this. At every step this Conservative Government is endeavoring to deliberately make the UK reliant on a foreign power. That is without recognizing that 2.5 million face masks is more a less a single days requirement in the UK’s Health infrastructure.

      The next step is come the election this Conservative Government is ‘making’ its self the sole responsible party for causing the Coronavirus.

      Outside looking in, this Conservative Government is looking inept. It is running a deliberate PR disaster – just so it can say to the people – you are beholden to us.

  35. Christine
    Posted April 18, 2020 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    What items will we run out of next? In the USA they are running of of dialysis machines as COVID-19 damages kidneys. We now learn that ventilators are causing major damage to patients lungs. Why are we paying hospital managers vast amounts of money when they seem incapable of doing a decent job?

  36. glen cullen
    Posted April 18, 2020 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    There are considerably less scheduled, elective, out-patients operations and generally less activity on normal wards and A&E. With less activity (govt message to save the NHS is not to use the NHS) there is less demand on the use of PPE. Also almost all procedures, consultations and visits have been cancelled

    The care sector usage of PPE has remained constant

    So why is the demand greater now then prior to January ?

  37. Ian terry
    Posted April 18, 2020 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    Sir John

    The clue is in the word. Pandemic. You cover the situation perfectly in that it is a world demand.

    It must be possible to source British companies to make up the shortfall. If company offers, give them the specification, they manufacture a batch of ten. Pass them out for independent Quality Control to ensure manufactured to specification. If passed give them the order and get it got. It ain’t rocket science

  38. JimS
    Posted April 18, 2020 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    I do hope that the EU procurement model is being followed, request for tenders being advertised in all 28 countries, potential suppliers submitting their declarations that they don’t employ slaves, that they are fully signed up to the equality and diversity agenda, that their boards are 50% female, that they employ enough catholics etc. and that the materials that they propose to use are from sustainably sourced and that no carbon dioxide is released during the production process.

    • Fred H
      Posted April 18, 2020 at 10:10 pm | Permalink

      but it will be a month before publication of Invitation to Tender, then quite some time for responding with interest, then a Specification will have to be produced and sent to those of interest with an explanation on how their application will be marked and by whom. At that stage a delivery date or dates will be required, hopefully this year…..

  39. Lifelogic
    Posted April 18, 2020 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    The number of EU nationals in the UK has been underestimated by up to 55% reports the Telegraph today. Was this underestimate deliberate or just a mistake?

  40. J Mitchell
    Posted April 18, 2020 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    It seems to me that the problem of PPE is one of management not government. Some hospitals have and are sourcing what they need. Others are not. The focus should be on the managers (well paid) of the hospitals where there are shortages. Why are they failing when others are not. The easy lie of underfunding should not be accepted.

  41. Mike Stallard
    Posted April 18, 2020 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    “It should not be a logistics problem. The army is doing great work strengthening public sector delivery systems.”
    Food supply: Tescos, Morrisons, Asda, Lidl etc: all have adapted. All are providing a lot of the right food. No problem.
    So why cannot the very well funded (especially the well paid top men and women) provide simple things like masks, visors, aprons and gloves in massive abundance?

  42. Edwardm
    Posted April 18, 2020 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    What is being done to get to the root of bottlenecks in the production and distribution of essential medical supplies – such as PPE and coronavirus tests ?
    Is it bureaucratic inertia ?
    It seems no one has overall sight of the problem.
    A network of empowered can-do people is needed to get things going.

    Are reports that the Cabinet can’t make key decisions without the PM true? Cabinet members should be capable of making decisions, else they shouldn’t be in the Cabinet.
    The Cabinet needs to get its act together – they should be able to devise and publish contingent schemes for a phased lockdown exit. The Cabinet needs to look competent.

  43. Ian terry
    Posted April 18, 2020 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    Sir John

    With a lot of time and energy being spent with the dealing of this crisis the world alas keeps turning and in doing so it has thrown up a few little gems.

    From Paul Homewood…. Not a Lot of People Know That Blog.

    15th April Pollution from diesel cars grossly over hyped

    17th April Almost half of UK’s carbon footprint down to invisible
    emissions abroad.

    When it comes to sorting out how this pandemic is going to be paid for Government is going to have to be mercenary when it comes to clawing back money from some of the projects it is involved in, in its plan to save the world.

    I do not expect this to be published but it is just to draw your attention to what is happening especially where less traffic load is being experienced.

  44. APL
    Posted April 18, 2020 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    John, what measures are the government taking to ensure high technology and precision engineering companies like for example, Rolls Royce – which must be feeling extreme pressure by the destruction of the commercial airline industry, are supported from the impact of the government ordered shutdown?

    Why have we Chinese companies* building nuclear reactors initially at the British governments behest and British tax payers expense, when with some initiative British companies could be building our own nuclear program?

    *Where did Chinese companies get the expertise, except from the West where your class, the Politicans have been more than happy to export this knowledge and expertise over the last forty years.

    As a class, Politicians should do something good for the country for once!

    After, all once upon a time, Britain built our own nuclear reactors.

  45. Ian Wilson
    Posted April 18, 2020 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    It needs a’get-things-done person’, a rare talent like Lord Beaverbrook in WW2 or Ernest Hives of Rolls-Royce. Owen Paterson? He did a superb job on the Somerset floods when everyone else were wringing their hands in despair.

  46. Ginty
    Posted April 18, 2020 at 10:02 am | Permalink

    The NHS could save a lot of people ending up in intensive care, using up unnecessary PPE and save itself a huge amount of money at zero cost. Yes. ZERO.

    The message should be “Stay at home. Save lives. Protect the NHS. Lose weight.”

    You have to search for it but PHE already classes people with a BMI over 40 as in need of shielding and free food parcels. The risk of obesity on its own is higher than cancer and diabetes.

    It is becoming widespread news that a BMI over 30 increases the risk of a bad reaction to COVID-19 because of inflammation as well as problems handling patients who need turning and intubation.

    It looks like we are going to have to suffer several waves of COVID-19 outbreak so there is plenty of time to get in shape for those ahead and save the NHS .

    It is also old news that obesity is the number one killer that the NHS has to deal with so this advice wouldn’t go amiss outside of this crisis.

    Nearly all of this is avoidable. It is an abuse of the NHS to get overweight without medical insurance and then expect it to pay for your illnesses. I wouldn’t ride a motorcycle, mountain bike or go rock climbing or hang gliding without extra personal cover.

    Alas it is politically incorrect to say this. The same as it was politically incorrect to shut our borders when we ought to have. In fact we have had a movement in recent years dedicated to making obesity fashionable and now we are locked down eating biscuits and drinking beer and yet some people on this site complain when others go out running.

  47. hefner
    Posted April 18, 2020 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    An interesting read available in different places:
    Tim Harford: Why we fail to prepare for disasters 16/04/2020
    FT Magazine, and freely available on

    and on
    A timelineof the UK Government’s woeful response to the coronavirus crisis 11/04/2020

    And to please some of the readers here a subsidiary question: the Tory Government is being found wanting, but how much worse would the situation be if the bunch of Brexit Party clowns (of which there is a fair sample here) were anywhere power?

    • Edward2
      Posted April 18, 2020 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

      Or how much worse it would be if your preferred Labour/LibDems were in charge.
      In your fantasy world Hefner, I expect you think all would be perfect.

      • Andy
        Posted April 18, 2020 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

        The reality is that we do effectively have the Brexit Party in government. Many of these ‘Tories’ have at least flirted with Farage over the last decade. Some much more than flirted.

        We should not be surprised that the Faragists are incompetent. It was ever thus.

        • Edward2
          Posted April 18, 2020 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

          It is the result of the last election.
          Just like the referendum result you refuse to accept it.
          No one ever elected a brexit party candidate in the last election.

      • Hope
        Posted April 18, 2020 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

        Hef, I guess the civil service would advise (to try to get its own way) whoever was in office, experts would also exist as well. Therefore it would be a matter of judgement and decision making. After three years of this govts treacherous, lying, dishonest behaviour who would believe a minister or PM who says,”Let me level with you..” Therefore your point is ill-informed and a poor reflection on yourself.

        It difficult to conceive any other party could make such a clusterfck as the current incumbents. Decide a strategy then do a 180 U turn knowing trust being a key issue for public consent and compliance. Read Guido and the Swedish expert view.

        It is obvious the house arrest scheme has not evidenced it made any difference to numbers of infections or deaths whatsoever. What is also clear you cannot have house arrest while letting in 100,000 people from virus hotspots into the country without testing, tracing etc. It is diametrically opposed to the strategy the govt. is now taking! Alternatively, how did they think the virus got here? As other medical experts around the world said “peculiar”.

        • hefner
          Posted April 20, 2020 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

          Ill-informed? Please let me know of the names of 20 Brexit Party luminaries who could make it up to a Cabinet position? or assuming a coalition, please give ten names.

      • Gordon Nottingham
        Posted April 18, 2020 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

        Well said Ian Wragg

      • hefner
        Posted April 18, 2020 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

        Have I hurt the feelings of another Brexit Party clown here?

        • Edward2
          Posted April 19, 2020 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

          Is that your best response?
          Very poor.
          For someone of your intellect.

          • hefner
            Posted April 20, 2020 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

            Thanks for the compliment.

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted April 18, 2020 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

      The Tory government are doing well overall. Their stated strategy was to ensure the NHS was not overwhelmed and this has been notably successful.

    • M Davis
      Posted April 18, 2020 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

      May God spare us from control-freak Socialism, Socialism stinks!

  48. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted April 18, 2020 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    “Clearly the public sector will have to make rapid decisions.” The public sector is constitutionally incapable of making rapid decisions without a big boot up the backside. If all doctors and nurses refused to treat Coronavirus patients unless provided with PPE, then you would see rapid action.

    The number of deaths of Coronavirus patients in hospitals (a lagging indicator) is already in decline. What disguises this is a rise in deaths among hospital health care staff, so the composite picture is one of flatlining.

    What makes all of this immensely distressing is that young people and people in their prime are taking risks to prolong artificially the lives of elderly people, who have already had a good innings.

    Life in a care home is so awful that we are not doing the occupants any favours by prolonging it. Both my mother and my maternal aunt spent their final years in care homes, trapped in a single room except when taken to a living room where they could fall asleep or watch television with their fellow geriatrics. After every visit, I came away thinking “What is the point of all this?”

    Therefore, let us not transport elderly people to places where they can infect other people.

    • a-tracy
      Posted April 19, 2020 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

      Lindsay you sound like my Dad, he is terrified he’d one day need to go into a care/nursing home and said he’d rather take a pill, in fact he asked if I knew how to get him one just in case – when I said I didn’t he said I’d have to help him put a bag on his head! 😳 I thought calm down Dad you could just ask me if you could move in.

  49. rose
    Posted April 18, 2020 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    Of course it should be possible to crack this problem, but with the churches and cathedrals shut, we now have a new national religion, orchestrated by the media, in which the NHS is God, and HMG is the Devil. In that atmosphere it is hard to pull together, and pulling together is what is needed.

    • Margaret Howard
      Posted April 18, 2020 at 4:43 pm | Permalink


      Churches shut? They only ever manage to attract a handful of elderly ladies when they are open these days. Unless the BBC’s ‘Songs of Praise’ turns up when they are packed to the rafters.

  50. a-tracy
    Posted April 18, 2020 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    John, I could tell you some tales of silly bureaucracy slowing down delivery of vital ppe but it would make you mad. Petty foggin jobsworths.

    I can buy bulk ppe easier for next day delivery in the U.K. than I can buy small quantities so I don’t understand your Councils issue, I think someone’s telling you a tale, if you need a supplier e-mail me and I’ll send you a companies details.

    reply Pl send suppliers email address that have stock to

    • forthurst
      Posted April 18, 2020 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

      Of course JR should be complemented on his good endeavours to address issues of PPE supply entirely on his own initiative and he is not the only one who is attempting to ameliorate the shortcomings of the organisations responsible for public health.

      The other day the government hired BA to use a passenger jet to transport a small consignment of face masks and gloves from China. Was this some kind of publicity exercise or were they genuinely not aware that there are companies whose business is Air Freight who don’t put merchandise on the seats of passenger jets because their aircraft don’t have any?

      The more this continues, the more pessimistic I become about the capability of arts graduates to actually organise anything properly. We are becoming third world because of a failure of our FPTP system to yield any from of competent governance.

  51. Lorna
    Posted April 18, 2020 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    You talk much common sense Sir John .My thoughts exactly
    Can you please offer to sort it out for the
    Govt ?

  52. peter soakel
    Posted April 18, 2020 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

    Time is of the essence here. When the tax base has been removed we are not going to have an NHS. We need to get back to doing stuff ASAP. The NHS is there, paid for by us already. It is like clapping the taxi driver when you have paid the fare and youre standing outside your house. For God’s sake. We need to get moving as a matter of urgency, let’s test the expanded hospital capacity. People are starting to get really cheesed off with all this. No reliable data. It is a huge unfunny joke.

  53. Ed M
    Posted April 18, 2020 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    Dear Sir John,

    PPE is relatively uncomplicated to produce in large quantities relative to say the speed at which the USA created and tested the first nuclear bomb in WW2.

    Coronavirus might not be as dangerous as the Japanese, but it is seriously paralysing our economy right now and diminishing a sense of British patriotism as well as people dying and dying in tragic ways.

    Someone in government needs to draw up something like a businessman plan – a chart – with a plan exactly how to get the amount of PPE required, all the challenges faced and how to overcome and so on, and a minister needs to be put in charge of this alone – PPE.

    And we need a minister for each of the important aspects of this crisis so that we can turn this crisis around as speedily and effectively as possible to get back to ‘normal.’

    • Ed M
      Posted April 18, 2020 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

      @Sir John,

      I was speaking to my sister and her husband who were/are passionate Brexiters and Conservatives with a big ‘C’ (I am a Conservative with a small ‘c’ – but definitely a Conservative).

      Anyway, they were commenting about one particular member of Cabinet (I won’t say who) who they said has looked like a ‘frightened rabbit’ all the way through this coronavirus (and they said other ministers to a degree too as well). Although they did not say this about Boris (who they both think is great).

      I look to my sister and her husband as a yardstick by which to view how many other Conservatives, of their flavour of Conservatism, view things.

    • Ed M
      Posted April 18, 2020 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

      ‘Someone in government needs to draw up something like a businessman plan – a chart – with a plan exactly how to get the amount of PPE required, all the challenges faced and how to overcome and so on, and a minister needs to be put in charge of this alone – PPE.’

      – And this (the whole thing – chart and all) needs to be done in PUBLIC – for public scrutiny – and gone through on a daily basis about how the government is progressing.

  54. Sue Doughty
    Posted April 18, 2020 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    NHS is a nationalised industry that hates private enterprise. Their procurement likes to keep everything in house and was being very silly in spite of issuing patterns and approvals.

    • Fred H
      Posted April 18, 2020 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

      Sue – – and we’ve all heard of ‘procurement ‘ paying multiple of typical prices for everything from a lightbulb to a bed…..

  55. Otto
    Posted April 18, 2020 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    I notice here a ‘bit’ of criticism of what is happening. I also notice that you, JR, have no comments to make about it. Perhaps you also don’t tell others in the govt. etc. what people are saying and what they say about it.

    Is it all a secret or have you done and said nothing? You don’t even say that you have brought up these criticisms, if you even have.

    Reply I am regularly in contact with the different levels involved in PPE procurement to see how the position can be improved.

    • SM
      Posted April 18, 2020 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

      Otto – you appear not to have read the 2nd and 4th paragraph of Sir John’s post today.

  56. Mark
    Posted April 18, 2020 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

    Surely with so many MPs having degrees in PPE we must have the best expertise in the world for solving the problem?

    But it worries me that government seems to think they are running a centrally planned economy that works in accordance with central diktats (an academic fantasy at the best of times that even the Chinese have abandoned) . That applies not only to the shambles of PHE failing to manage supplies and purchasing, but also to the fond notion that the economy can restart without businesses being given advance notice and then doing a lot of planning and checking out of supply chains and customers and reorganizing operations themselves. This is not just restarting production after a long holiday weekend.

  57. Fedupsoutherner
    Posted April 18, 2020 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    What a joke lockdown is in the uk. There a still bus loads of people arriving in Ayrshire where the Covid19 count is quite high and stopping at local shops on the A77 with no thought to social distancing. Then we have numerous people still flying into the Uk from all over the world. Our neighbour goes out to see her girlfriend every night and other neighbours are having family members visit for parties. We also learn that we cannot guarantee that people who have had the virus probably are not immune and that there is no reliable tests for this. Why weren’t our borders closed a long time ago? We are an island and the economic damage would gave been far less if we had isolated seriously weeks earlier. Instead we are continuing to let in people who could be carriers and spending money on stupid projects.

    • rose
      Posted April 18, 2020 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

      I had been wondering why it was high in Scotland.

  58. J Perry
    Posted April 18, 2020 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    There are numerous websites, mainly US, with free patterns for making masks – starting with CDC’s US Surgeon General Dr Jerome Adams short video – so why aren’t people in the UK seeing these sites and sewing for themselves and others? Also there are videos of how to make plastic visors using 1.5 litre plastic water bottles.

    Reply People are sewing to help as volunteers

    • Ian @Barkham
      Posted April 18, 2020 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

      This Conservative Government with its monolithic Socialist stance finds it has much in common with the Chinese State. As such its preferers having China as its procurement partner.

      Supporting the UK and ensuring its future by nourishing home grown talent, manufacturing and enterprise is resisted at all times.

      It would be possible to mobilize those with expertise and experience to supply the UK’s needs many times over, rather than have them sit at home twiddling their thumbs.

  59. J Perry
    Posted April 18, 2020 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    There are numerous websites – mainly US – with free patterns for facemasks, starting with CDC’s US Surgeon General Dr Jerome Adams’ short video. There are also YouTube videos showing how to make visors from 1.5 litre plastic water bottles. I can’t understand why no one mentions these.

  60. Javelin
    Posted April 18, 2020 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

    I currently work at a large British bank that received billions in bail out money to stay afloat after poor management. I work in the department that provides loans to corporates. This area of the bank had been prioritised recently. Last week we found out that the budget in this part of the bank had been slashed and a very large number of people are about to lose their jobs.

    How does this square up with the Government helping business and how does the bank justify the bail out money given it is about to kneecap the one area of the bank that will help the country recover.

    You might want to send this post to the Chancellor

  61. Jiminyjim
    Posted April 18, 2020 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    I believe Sir John that a large part of the problem with PPE suits in particular is that there are only three manufacturing plants in the world for TYVEK – the material from which they are made – USA, China and Luxembourg (the last is refusing to supply to any customers outside Luxembourg and Germany)
    I hope that the government is paying close attention to which countries have acted as friends in this crisis and which countries have not.
    In addition, we have not had a large scale sewing/machining manufacturing capability in this country since the mass closure of such facilities as a result of our major clothing stores preferring to buy from the cheapest sources in the Far East etc.

    • steve
      Posted April 19, 2020 at 2:32 pm | Permalink


      “I hope that the government is paying close attention to which countries have acted as friends in this crisis and which countries have not.”

      But they won’t tell us, as we might demand they grow a pair and start acting like the patriots they’re supposed to be.

      However, the truth will out when this is all over.

  62. ian
    Posted April 18, 2020 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    I don’t believe there is a shortage of PPE.

    With the gov and PHE involvement in Africa with Ebola, they would have millions upon millions of item made over the years and more than lightly sitting warehouses in the UK ready to fly out or in Africa all mark PPE Africa on the boxes, as this is the usual UK bureaucratic nightmare unfolding you have to do donkey work yourself by looking up who was involved with Ebola in Africa and ask to see the records of how many items was made and how many items were used and where they keeping the supplies not used.

    RED CROSS usual have warehouses full of it for third world countries like the UK, paid for by the taxpayers.

  63. Polly
    Posted April 18, 2020 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    It increasingly looks that Gilead’s remdesivir will be a viable treatment for corunavirus, so, although it’s still early days, this looks the one to watch carefully.

    The release of lock down and the ”return to work” program would be so much easier with a reliable therapy.


  64. Iain Gill
    Posted April 18, 2020 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    All the big garment makers, like the big pharma companies, outsourced the majority of their production to cheaper countries long ago. Its harder than it looks to move it all back to the UK quickly.

  65. Roy Grainger
    Posted April 18, 2020 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    PPE. Not sure there’s a shortage or whether the NHS wildly inefficient organisational and purchasing structure is to blame for not distributing it properly. Maybe both. Anyway, there are rumours of some of the NHS trusts with few Covid patients ordering and hoarding large amounts of PPE which are not immediately needed. Maybe untrue but why not ask the army for their experiences – they are delivering some of this stuff and are interacting with the NHS bureaucrats.

  66. ian
    Posted April 18, 2020 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

    I don’t see why PPE can not be disinfected after being used disinfectant kills the virus on contact with it, as usual bureaucrats turn everything into a nightmare instead of coming up with the easy answers.

    In Spain, they are now using planes full of disinfectant to spraying cities and towns along with other countries doing the same as did China who showed good results with it.
    Most countries are also handing out face masks to their citizens, how is it that this gov of yours does nothing of any use on things that cost pennies to do. Question need to be answered by this penny wise pound foolish government.

    I see that fat boy slim is holding a beach party for hundreds of NHS staff down in Brighton so they can party all night but UK citizens are not allowed out for parties.

  67. Sea Warrior
    Posted April 18, 2020 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

    Sir John, I am disappointed to see that my comments seem to be getting special ‘moderation’ treatment from you. They routinely seem to be held over for most of the day. The left-wingers who inhabit your site are, by contrast, given free reign. I won’t bother posting comments or visiting here again.

    • a-tracy
      Posted April 19, 2020 at 9:27 am | Permalink

      Sea Warrior, this isn’t an unsupervised message board, if you want that write your own blog they’re free set up and cost nothing to run, set up a twitter profile but don’t piggy back someone else’s successful blog that has taken him years to build up, with constant well thought through daily postings, and serious and sensible moderation that most of us accept and appreciate especially when we’re just sounding off.

      John has a life and full time job and 239 anxious posts to read- it is TOTALLY up to him to decide whose posts he shares and if you don’t like it don’t post! Find someone else’s blog to use Guido Fawkes perhaps.

    • Fred H
      Posted April 19, 2020 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

      you are not alone…..

    • steve
      Posted April 19, 2020 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

      Sea Warrior

      Would be sorry to see you go, but the answer is simple: have the final say at the ballot box.

  68. Ian @Barkham
    Posted April 18, 2020 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

    Up Date:
    Around 250,000 boxes of supplies have been delivered to people shielding from the coronavirus, Mr Jenrick says.

    Of the 1.5million highly at risk on compulsory lock-down, it is a good thing just 250,000 of them are getting supplies.

    I have an elderly relative at the other end of the country. On the highly at risk list, has had the letter explaining that. Now in his 80’s with cancer, high blood pressure and on serious drugs to keep under control. Unless he goes out and does his own shopping he doesn’t get to eat.

    This Conservative Government has to stop saying what it is going to do one day and just do things today without seeking self gratification and praises.

  69. ChrisS
    Posted April 18, 2020 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

    Some NHS workers could also be a bit less precious where it comes to re-using items in short supply.

    I understand that the virus cannot live above a temperature of 60 degrees so there should be no problem in washing some of the better quality items. Visors, in particular must be re-useable.

  70. M Brandreth- Jones
    Posted April 18, 2020 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

    I advocate protection for all. Washing hands is simply not enough . The ridiculous supposition that pathogens somehow stop to colonise at the wrist and any bare skin above the hands will be free from the nasties continues.

    It annoys me when some attempt to ridicule others when they wear gloves or masks in the hope that contamination will be reduced.There has even been Drs on facebook who wrongly state that wearing gloves is a waste of time as pathogens stay on gloves as they would on skin .They don’t even have the intelligence to understand that gloves can be washed whilst wearing them in the same fashion as hands without gloves. Gloves on hands can also be sanitised with hand gel or disinfectant wipes , which can be kept on the person or in the car.

  71. zorro
    Posted April 18, 2020 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

    We live in a very strange country which has turned itself into an effective socialist police state through the Coronavirus Act. Everything seems purposefully vague about this disease and whether it can be reliably tested for or us for antigen/antibodies tests which may or may not work. The lockdown will last until we get a vaccine even if the economy disappears because we can’t talk about an exit strategy?? If we get a vaccine or if it works, or do we need it because it is not an HCID and actually most have had it or not or may not produce antibodies or etc etc etc…..

    It seems like there is a lot of purposeful disinformation to totally confuse people.

    However, what I know is that this government supports socialist totalitarian policies and does not seem to care about SME. It is beholden to the Medical Industrial Complex who seem to run the country and are ignoring other potential far simpler treatments which help against this disease as they prefer the ‘vaccine’…

    What about the wonderful ventilators which appear to have caused or at least promoted more deaths than they have saved?

    What world locks its country down to allow 23 million jobs to effectively disappear (USA) or the UK allow to think it can shrink its economy by 35% and bounce back straight away. That is for the birds.

    We also have the main news every evening going over cases of people who have died with COVID 19 even 95-year-olds as if they should never die. Every death is a tragedy, but even Hancock admitted the other day that on average 10,000 PEOPLE ON AVERAGE A MONTH DIE IN CARE HOMES. When do we ever do this? It is like a massive cult brainwashing experiment. Nobody is allowed to dissent on anything without being shouted down as a conspiracy theorist. You often have people falsely allege that some people have linked 5G with COVID 19 when they have actually said there is evidence that 5G may have an effect on immune systems. Even The Lancet has acknowledged this in 2018.

    I am really surprised at how people meekly allow these pretty poor 5pm duckspeakers to spout inconsistent information or non-information. We must have proper democratic scrutiny, challenge and plurality of opinion or we are just slaves. Just think of the millions of poor workers in India who will effectively be starved to death by these lockdowns…

    In India, they have had over 400 deaths linked to COVID 19, but in normal times 3,000 children a day die of starvation. How many more now??


    • peter soakel
      Posted April 19, 2020 at 12:58 am | Permalink

      no reliable data, garbage in, garbage out. silly really.)

  72. rose
    Posted April 18, 2020 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

    The reptiles tell us 400,000 gowns, 84 tons of PPE from Turkey, will last 3 days. Is it perhaps time that our green friends stepped in and pointed out this is not sustainable? For decades it has been considered acceptable to throw everything away rather than washing it. Is it still acceptable? The green surgical masks from America can easily be hand washed, several at a time, and worn the next day. Why is it not being done when the alternative may be nothing at all?

    • Stred
      Posted April 19, 2020 at 5:53 am | Permalink

      I spray my mask and goggles with water and put them in the microwave for half a minute until they steam dry.

  73. The Prangwizard
    Posted April 18, 2020 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

    I hear a ‘task force’ is to be out together for something or other. Whoever thought this up was thinking of the PR benefit.

    Yet another gang of paper shufflers to slow things down. There is no hope for the country with Ministers who think that making announcements like this is the way to win support. Wasters.

  74. Rhoddas
    Posted April 18, 2020 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

    PHE Sourcing management not delivering PPE/Tests – not engaging with UK private industry effectively. PHE Logistics also somewhat dubious. Matt accountable and situation looking precarious – get a grip or move out of the way so someone else can.
    Reason we are likely to be the highest deaths in Europe – UK shut down at least 10 days too late – and still today 15k incoming on flights everyday – no tests or isolation control, ludicrous situation… Priti/Grant get it sorted.
    Why did we underestimate… substantially China/WHO weren’t honest or timely enough… so every country is affected. There will be a reckoning!

  75. Elli Ron
    Posted April 18, 2020 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

    Yes, by all means try to get more PPE, but chances are this will take time and hospitals already have a solution:
    The process of cleaning PPE’s is trivial, it can be done in an ordinary washing machine at 50C + soap. 15 minutes should be sufficient for a load and another 30 minutes to dry at low heat.

    For God’s sake, we have done Dunkirk, can’t we solve a simple cleanup problem.

    Hospitals have large laundries for their usual needs this should be simple even for hospital admin to organize.

    If I hear it correctly the government has already delivered 1 billion PPE items, you can’t expect world production and shipping to cope with this sort of demand.
    Hospitals must help their own staff to survive this emergency, not relay on external forces.

    • peter soakel
      Posted April 19, 2020 at 1:08 am | Permalink

      Also, dancing around together in ‘tik tok’ videos does not inspire the public to self-enforce social distancing diktats which they themselves seem to flippantly ignore, after all, we are constantly being programmed to save the NHS;- looks a bit silly and I ain’t buying it.

  76. a-tracy
    Posted April 18, 2020 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

    ‘The NHS is using about 150,000 gowns a day.’ 400,000 gowns arriving in UK on Sunday, as unions warn frontline staff may walk out over shortages’. It says in the Guardian – it’s impossible to keep up with this demand!

    If there are 19,000 patients do all of these require two full time staff members with them 24 hours per day in full gowns? How is this working I’m confused that’s a huge amount. Do they change between patients? Why if the gowns are to protect them and all the patients are infected with the same virus? If these gowns are so contaminated how they worn outside? How many staff are working each day? Don’t they wear several disposable aprons over one gown for the day? So if the gowns are disposable how often are they changed?

    • a-tracy
      Posted April 18, 2020 at 8:43 pm | Permalink

      There has got to be another way, a washable gown, better made lightweight recyclable filter masks, where did all the demands for ventilators come from? If seems more important to get masks and gowns for staff, what do the best hospitals around the World do? These gowns must be globally short why have we allowed ourselves to be so dependent on disposable products for key workers?

      It’s terrifying to think you may have to go in hospital and the treatment won’t be there and ventilators don’t seem to work if there is a bed and staff, there are no drug trials or alternatives, it’s just 50/50 by the sounds of it if you’ll survive, as most of us have been on lockdown for over 3 weeks now where in the U.K. are the 5000 new patients per day entering the system? Where have they been for the last 3 weeks? Were they working? In which jobs? How many of these patients are coming into the U.K. from abroad? I’m sorry John, you don’t have to put this through moderation, but we must start getting more information because our media is hell bent on scaring people to death – I’m glad I’m working and don’t have time to read them everyday.

      • Stred
        Posted April 19, 2020 at 5:46 am | Permalink

        The current number of patients could be those who were infected within the family after lockdown. If it takes three weeks to death after a week or two of hospital treatment or no treatment in a home, then the secondary and tertiary infected family members are still to come. Then there are the workers who are still picking up the disease on public transport. The aim was to flatten the curve which stays flat for weeks during which time the numbers do not change much. We have Italy as a working model.

        • a-tracy
          Posted April 19, 2020 at 7:54 am | Permalink

          Same questions then Stred these latest 5000 patients after lockdown need thorough investigation and the public will want reports on this if you want them to imprison themselves for a further 3 weeks.

          We were told if you were infected and recovered stay at home 7 days. Your family to stay home for 14 days. It’s been over 3 weeks now, my parents haven’t been out for a month!

          Italy isn’t the U.K. I blame Italy a lot for our infection rate, they knew they had this bad out of control before the half term break in the ski regions and so many of our first patients came in from planes from there infecting the more wealthy ski crowd, the airline staff, baggage handlers. Now numbers are reducing I want to know where they are entering the hospitals now. Which hospitals which area?

  77. Ed M
    Posted April 19, 2020 at 12:14 am | Permalink

    @Sir John,

    Surely, the government’s main focus to get the UK out of this virus crisis (in terms of Health and Wealth) to focus on protecting the vulnerable (in care homes, homes and hospitals) as best as possible, until herd immunity – slowly – kicks in and / or a vaccination is made avail in 12 to 18 months whilst allowing the less vulnerable to return to work with really strict but effective social distancing like in China (and have lots of media campaigns to get everyone exercising regularly, losing weight, and eating and drinking healthily)

  78. MeSET
    Posted April 19, 2020 at 2:51 am | Permalink

    The British Government’s slight relaxation on lockdown is not fast enough. They are in focus on one problem. Fixated. Another aspect of mass hysteria which reached The House during Brexit but which was prevalent in the country well before that. The problem is the mass hysteria. Not understanding it, not being aware of it being a victim of it right to the top. The top already debilitated by it.
    The economy comes FIRST. It takes first place to everything. An army marches on its stomach, not on an NHS stage.
    Our leadership is deathly weak.

    • peter soakel
      Posted April 19, 2020 at 12:37 pm | Permalink


  79. steve
    Posted April 19, 2020 at 2:23 pm | Permalink


    “The problem of course lies mainly with the supply.”

    …..and we learn, JR, that 84 tonnes of PPE procured by the government from Turkey is delayed.

    We are told the delay is due to ‘logistical reasons’. We are also told the RAF is capable and ready to despatch aircraft to Turkey to collect said cargo.

    My questions would be:

    1) has Turkey allocated our supply to some other country ?
    2) are we being blackmailed ?
    3) is Turkey despatching to the highest bidder ?

    In any event ‘logistical reasons’ is not good enough and is such a pathetic excuse as to insult our intelligence.

    Worse yet, we now learn that the government sent some 270,000 PPE items to China at the start of outbreak there. Michael Gove offers this lame excuse :- “the items were not from our pandemic stock”.

    When are we going to get a government that puts our country’s interests first ?

    I ask because if gov’t hasn’t got the balls and decency to tell us which countries are holding us to ransom, then frankly we must be being taken for mugs, and to hell with lockdown as far as I’m concerned.

    Why should WE be having OUR NHS staff’s lives put at risk because some bloody fool was soft enough to have given away vital PPE ?

    Damn well fed up of weak pathetic UK governments expecting us to pay the price for their pandering to other countries.

  80. Gareth Warren
    Posted April 20, 2020 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    I see the numbers and claims that we are a rich nation, yet willingly put ourselves under the control of authoritarian regimes for everything from daily consumer goods, life critical PPE and telecoms.

    We are endlessly preached to by media and politicians about pollution and how we must reduce our energy usage, yet the same people support an above system that relies on 8000 mile supply chain and an unreliable authoritarian regime. Worse still the PPE and other products are cheap and shoddy, we should aspire to better.

    I am no fan of overarching government and hence opposed the EU, but it is time we ensured our supplies were either manufactured in the UK and/or friendly nations.

  81. a-tracy
    Posted April 22, 2020 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    John, Matt Hancock said today that there is no plan to provide the general public with facemasks when asked by Hilary Benn, however, wouldn’t this be sensible if you want to get people back in to work from May.

    If everyone was provided with two washable suitable face masks by the government at low cost it is cheaper than keeping everyone on furlough and it is better than encouraging them to buy their own expensive versions off the internet and getting caught out, if people want more than two they can buy additional stocks themselves to be collected from their local pharmacist.

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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